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2d Session. \ No. 15. 

49th Congress, \ SENATE. { Mis. Doc. 













In response to Senate resolution of August 4, 1886, a report on irrigation. 

December 17, 1886. — Referred to the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, and 

ordered to be printed. 


Tjnited States Department of Agriculture, 

Commissioner's Office, 
Washington, D. C 3 December 15, 1886. 
Sir : I have the honor to transmit herewith, in accordance with a 
esolntion of the Seoate of August 4, 1886, certain information on the 
ubject of irrigation which has been gathered and prepared for publi- 
sation by this Department. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Commissioner of Agriculture. 

Hon. John Sherman, 

President pro tempore of the United States Senate. 


By Richard J. Hinton. 


The inquiry into the progress and present condition of irrigation in 
this country has necessarily involved a consideration of the extent and 
character of the area within which the annual rainfall is not sufficient 
for the industrial uses of the people. Such an inquiry, broadly defined, 
has involved the extent of the fall of rains or snow within the area in- 
dicated ; also the evidence obtained as to increase or decrease of pre- 
cipitation resulting from agricultural settlement or of pastoral occupa- 
tion, the increase of humidity of earth or air, the destruction of the 
timber mainly by its use for settlement purposes, the effect of the de- 
struction of the native grasses and the substitution of cultivated varie- 
ties ; also the sources of water supply, their character, uses, conserva- 
tion, the means, natural and artificial, employed for their distribution, 
and what has been and is being accomplished in the way of artificial 
methods of water distribution and economy, and the laws and customs 
pertaining thereto. 

Incidentally, the questions arising from deforesting, on the one hand, 
and of extensive arboriculture, on the other, are related to the inquiry, 
and have been brought out to some extent. The effort has been to ob- 
tain, by means of personal letters and by circulars, addressed to irrigators, 
arboriculturists, engineers, land owners, colonists, and all other persons 
known to be actively interested, the actual facts upon these subjects, 
so far as they could be supplied from observation, experience, experi- 
ments, and realized results. This effort has been measurably success- 
ful. It has brought together a mass of facts and well-considered ob- 
servations that shed much light on the questions involved, giving 
a broader idea of the importance of irrigation, and adding greater value 
to a very large area of the United States, of whose agricultural ca- 
pabilities but small account has heretofore been taken. It will be de- 
veloped by the facts herein presented that the area of the irreclaimable 
arid lands within the boundaries of the Union is, comparatively speak- 
ing, quite moderate in its extent. There is, however, a very large area, 
embracing at least one-third of our total land surface, wherein the water 
supply, whether subterranean and surface-flow or in the form of pre- 
cipitation, is both inadequate and irregular in character. 

The eastern boundary of this great area may at present be assumed 
to be the one hundredth meridian of west longitude. The western bound- 
ary may be in part placed at the Pacific Ocean, though more accurately 
the Coast Eange of California would be the line. The northern boundary 


is the British territorial line west from the one hundredth degree to the 
summit of the Sierras, or the one hundred and twentieth meridian. Fol- 
lowing the summits of the main range, the northwest line would deflect 
to the central portion of Oregon, following the southwesterly bend of the 
mountains down to the northern boundary of California. The southern 
limit of this dry area would be the northern line of Mexico, and thence 
south by east, along the Valley of the Bio Grande, down to the Gulf of 
Mexico. The area then, east and west, through its central and larger 
portion, runs from the one hundredth meridian to the one hundred and 
twenty-fourth degree of west longitude, and in its greatest prolongation 
north and south from the forty-third to the twenty-seventh degree of 
latitude. In its more northern portion it runs east and west from the 
ninety-eighth to the one hundred and twentieth degree of west longitude. 
The larger portion from north to south is embraced between the thirty- 
second and forty-third degrees of latitude. These lines cover about 
one-half of the States of Kansas and Nebraska and the Territory of Da- 
kota, the whole of the States of Colorado and Nevada, with four- fifths 
of California, one-third of Texas, and about one-third of Oregon; also 
the Territories of Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, Montana, Idaho, 
and Arizona, with at least one-third (east of the mountains) of Wash- 
ington Territory. This embraces about one-third of our whole terri- 
torial surface, inclusive of Alaska. How much of the latter-named 
Territory may be wholly or partially arid or desert in character cannot 
yet be estimated. The east and west lines of this dry region, then, are, 
in the widest section, over 1,300 miles apart, and in its greatest length, 
the northern and southern limits are about 1,000 miles apart. If the 
whole region were compactly arranged it would make a block about 
1,000 miles square. The area thus indicated may be subdivided again 
into three broad divisions, as follows : 

(1) The plains region, running north and south from the British 
American line to the lower portion of the Eio Grande Valley in Texas, 
and east and west from the one hundredth to the one hundred and fifth 
degrees of west longitude. This division may be broadly declared 
to have a general rise and altitude of from 1,500 to 5,000 feet, though 
it will fall below that at either end of the area. It is but sparsely 
supplied with streams, which are mainly fed from mountain sources ; 
the annual precipitation is nearly everywhere below a reliable amount 
for economic uses. In the central portion this precipitation will not, 
under favorable conditions, exceed 18 inches per annum in the eastern 
part, and as we go westward it diminishes to an average of about 12 to 
14 inches per annum. 

In the southern (Texas) portion of this area the rainfall will some- 
what exceed 20 inches on the east, decreasing until, on the northwest, 
it will reach only 8 or 10 inches in the most favorable seasons. In the 
northern or Dakota portion the average is more evenly maintained. 
This division will include the western half of Kansas and Nebraska, 
one-third (or the eastern foot-hills and plains region) of Colorado, the 
major portion of Dakota, the eastern half of Wyoming Territory, and 
one-third or more of the Indian Territory and Texas, with about one- 
fourth (or the eastern part) of New Mexico. It is drained by a number 
of streams, some of them of importance, and is bounded on the east 
and north by the Missouri Kiver and its affluents, and by the Pecos and 
Cimarron Rivers on the west and southwest. Its soil is almost uni- 
formly fertile. Natural grasses of most nutritious quality are found 
throughout its area. It is the most important grazing section of the 


Large farming settlements are moving steadily and compactly west- 
ward from the eastern line. At various points in its western portion 
there are important farming communities, created mainly by the use of 
water as applied through irrigation ditches and by other means of stor- 
age and distribution. The Valley of the Upper Rio" Grande, from the San 
Juan Range in Southern Colorado, to where the river debouches from 
New Mexico into Texas and become? the boundary line between the 
United States and Mexico, has for many generations been the seat of 
extensive, if local and unsystematized, irrigation works. The Pueblo 
or town-dwelling Indians have for centuries practiced it. Since the 
Spanish conquest, in the sixteenth century, the mixed Mexican people 
who have inhabited this district have always been obliged to irrigate in 
order to cultivate. In these latter days our own more enterprising peo- 
ple are inaugurating and carrying on larger enterprises and projects, 
whose advantages are already perceivable. 

(2) The second great division can be more distinctly characterized as the 
arid section of the United States. It lies between the one hundred and 
fifth and the one hundred and twentieth meridians, taking in the whole 
of our intra-mountain region, from the foot-hills of the Rockies to the 
lower slopes and foot-hills of the Sierras Nevada in California, and ex- 
tending north and south from British America to Mexico. .Within this 
area, except on the higher and arid heights of the ranges, principal or 
secondary, there is generally good pasturage for cattle. The natural 
grasses are sun-cured, and afford ample food and range for many million 
head of cattle. 

The problem of water supply is, however, one for serious considera- 
tion. There are desert tracts and areas within this great region which 
are undoubtedly arid and desolate to the extent of irreclaimability. 
Their extent is a matter yet unsettled, especially in view of the great 
enterprises projected and in progress in both Colorado and California. 
Even the mountain plateaus, which, from altitude as well as aridity 
would seem to be undoubtedly sterile, may yet be found useful, not only 
in providing for cattle, but, possibly under systematic plans of forest- 
culture, they may be made the means of protecting the water sources 
and otherwise favorably modifying climatic and terrene conditions. 

The defined outlines of this second division embrace the great basin 
section, of which Utah and its water reservoir — the great Salt Lake — 
are the dominating physical and geological features ; the Colorado 
plateau region, which occupies the larger portion of Southern Nevada 
and Northern Arizona ; the beautiful parks of the Rocky Mountains or 
the eastern flank and ranges of the North American Cordillera system ; 
the table-lands of Southern Arizona, and the great valleys and basin 
formed on the north by the Columbia River and its important affluents 
in Eastern Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. 

Arid and desert as this stupeudous mountain system may seem to 
be, it will be found on examination to have large sections capable of 
agricultural uses, and also to hold within its borders such sources and 
supplies of water as, properly conserved, protected, and distributed, 
under the wise and conservative direction of the national and State 
Governments, will be found of ample utility for the purposes (1) of 
larger pastoral uses ; (2) of more limited and localized, but still exten- 
sive, agricultural purposes; and (3) as storage and reservoir sources, 
from which at no distant day the life-giving waters may be conveyed to 
and distributed over vast areas, which even our present limited expe- 
riences prove to be convertible into fertile farms. 


A glance at a good topographical map will indicate to the observant 
eye the areas under reference. For example, the central section of the 
Eoekies (in Colorado, Wyoming, and a portion of New Mexico) contain 
the sources of important rivers. This hydrological area is extensive, 
as there are numerous lakes, some of considerable size, while the snow 
precipitation is also quite heavy. There is sufficient achieved already 
in Colorado under the stimulation of private need and profit to indicate 
what might be accomplished under larger direction. 

The entire foot-hills region, a considerable portion of the plains rolling 
eastward to the one hundredth meridian and beyond, the important val- 
leys of the Eio Grande, Platte, and Arkansas, with many small valley 
areas related thereto, might in a greater or less degree be reclaimed by 
means of the water supplies and snow precipitation found within the 
frontal range of the Eocky Mountains. Inquiry and examination will 
satisfy the inquirer that in the extreme west the higher Sierras yield 
from the snow precipitation alone an amount of water which, under 
proper engineering conservation and wise plans of distribution, carried 
out for the cdmmon weal rather than for corporate profit, would supply 
whole of the great valley and foot-hills region of Central and Southern 
California, now being so largely developed as a wheat and fruit growing 

In the northern portion of our intra- mountain area the hydrological 
system, comprising the Columbia and Snake Eivers and their affluents-, 
will give, it is asserted by many, a sufficient water supply for pasturage 
and agriculture. Of this section it is said that — 

East of the Cascade Mountains the climate and natural features of the country are 
very different from those of the great basin lying west of them, so that the popular 
divisions, Eastern and Western Oregon and Washington Territory, are warranted. In 
the eastern section the thermometer is much higher in summer and lower in winter 
than in the western section. The rainfall is only half as heavy. From June to Sep- 
tember there is no rain. The winters are short, but occasionally severe. Snow sel- 
dom falls before Christmas, and, though it sometimes lies from four to sis weeks, it 
usually disappears in a few days. The so-called " Chinook," a warm wind, blows pe- 
riodically and melts deep snows in the course of a few hours. 

In Eastern Oregon and Washington spring begins in February, and lasts until the 
middle of May. At this season rain falls in sufficient quantity to give life to vegeta- 
tion and insure good crops. The average temperature is 52°. The rainfall of the year 
does not average more than 20 inches. South of the Snake River it is not more than 
15 inches, increasing gradually to the northward. 

In the southern portion of this area, where the Colorado plateau 
descends to the valleys of the Gila, Colorado, and Eio Grande, forming 
the table-lands of Southern Arizona and Kew Mexico, there has already 
been utilized a water supply sufficient for cattle, and in several extended 
portions, as in the valleys of the Gila, Eio Verde, Salt, Colorado, 
Chiquita, San Pedro, and Santa Cruz Eivers, almost enough to meet the 
present agricultural and horticultural demands has been turned to ac- 

It may be estimated, then, that, of our whole intra-mountain region 
below the timber line as herein outlined, at least 60 per cent, affords 
fair pasturage, with sufficient watering places, though often at loog in- 
tervals apart, and subject to various limitations, which are rapidly be- 
ing in a degree overcome, and will hereafter largely disappear as in ore 
attention and skill are directed to the subject. The facts gathered from 
Utah and Xevada will show how large are the possibilities of improve- 
ment in this direction. Xo really accurate estimate can be made as to 
the proportion of this intra-mountain area that may be reclaimed for 
arable and horticultural purposes; but it is not extravagant to claim 


that when the accessible water sources shall be brought into use, one- 
fifth of its acreage (as already defined) may be so utilized. In a very 
large portion the per cent, will be quite small; in other portions it will 
greatly exceed the general estimate here made. It must be borne in 
mind that in both estimates the higher mountain sections, embracing 
at least one-fifth of the whole region, are excluded. Yet, on the summit 
of the highest plateau region in Northern Arizona, for instance, cattle 
are successfully wintered at an altitude of from 7,000 to 10,000 feet 
above the sea. 

(3) The third division, which might fairly be ranked first in point of 
interest, embraces the Pacific coast region from the western slopes of 
the Sierra Nevada (in California) to the ocean, and takes in the great 
transverse valley troughs or plains cradled between the Sierra foot- 
hills and the Coast Range, the great wheat granary of the Golden ttate, 
and also the fruit-growing section, yearly rising iu importance. 

In treating of these three divisions of the arid region more in detail 
they will be taken up in inverse order, beginning with the oue named 
last in the above statement. 


This division embraces the State of California, lying between the 
one hundred and twentieth degree of west longitude and the Pacific 
Ocean, east and west, and between the fortieth and thirty-first degrees 
of north latitude. 

In the San Joaquin Valley, at Fresno, and at different points in 
Southern California, as Los Angeles, San G-abriel, Riverside, Anaheim, 
San Diego, water is found to be attainable at moderate depths, and ap- 
parently in all directions. This subterranean supply, wherever it has 
been reached and utilized, is greatly reducing the need of surface irri- 

Fruit growers and wheat farmers in Southern California unite in the 
testimony that after irrigation has been practiced for some years a 
given supply of water suffices for a largely-increased area, the expla- 
nation being that when water is first applied to arid land a large part 
of it sinks deep into the dry earth, or is carried away laterally by 
seepage; whereas, when the lower strata, and, to some extent, the 
lands adjoining those under irrigation, are moistened, the amount of 
water absorbed in excess of the actual needs of vegetation becomes 
comparatively small. How much effect this increased huoridity of the 
soil may have on the atmospheric humidity is not yet known, but the 
increase of evaporation due to this circumstance and to the cultivation 
of trees and plants must ultimately produce a beneficial change in this 

The full industrial use of water in California must necessarily be gov- 
erned by the larger topographical and other physical conditions. The 
precipitation seldom exceeds 22 inches annually, and over a greater 
portion of the State falls below that figure. The wide range of varia- 
tion in rainfall is illustrated by the following facts : At Fort Redding 
the range of three years was from 15,9 inches to 37.4 inches ; at Sacra- 
mento the range of seventeen years was from 11.2 inches to 27.5 inches ; 
at Milierton, six years, from 9.7 inches to 49.3 inches ; at Stockton, three 
years, from 11.6 inches to 20.3 inches ; at Fort Tejon, five years, 9.8 
inches to 34.2 inches ; at Monterey, five years, from 8.2 inches to 21.6 
inches ; at San Diego, twelve years, 6.9 inches to 13.4 inches ; at Benicia, 
twelve years, 11.8 inches to 20 inches. The above figures show the rain- 


fall for calendar years : the following show the amount of precipitation 
during' the rainy season : Clear Lake, 1,300 feet elevation, six years, 16.2 
inches to 66.7 inches ; Visalia, three years, 6.7 inches to 10.3 inches; 
San Francisco, twenty-two years, 7 inches to 49.3 inches ; Pillarcitos, 
nine years, 39 inches io 82 inches; Sacramento, twenty- four years, 4.7 
inches to 36.4 inches ; San Diego, twenty-two years, 4.5 inches to 14.8 

The importance of California warrants a fuller description of the State, 
its topography, and other conditions bearing on the question of irriga- 
tion within its limits. There are two great mountain ranges running 
northwest and southeast, namely, the Sierra Nevada and the Coast 
Eauge. The former is from 4,000 to 8,000 feet high and the latter from 
1,000 to 6,000 feet. The two ranges are connected in the southern part 
of the State at Tehachipi, and in the northern at Mount Shasta. The 
Sierra Nevada Range extends along the eastern border of the State and 
is about 450 miles long. The Coast Range extends along the coast to 
the northern and southern boundaries of the State. The base of the 
Sierra Nevada Range north of Fresno has an average width of about 80 
miles. The Coast Range averages about 65 miles in width. Between* 
the two ranges are the great Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, 
which together are about 450 miles long by 55 miles wide, and may be 
termed the heart of the State. 

In the northern part of the State, and north of the junction of the two 
great mountain ranges, is the Klamath Basin, through which the 
Klamath River runs for a distance of 225 miles, between steep hills and 
mountains and rocky caiions, in a southwesterly course to the ocean. 
The whole basin of the Klamath is very rugged for a distance of 40 
miles from the coast, and along the main river there is very little valley 
or bottom land. However, there are several small rich valleys and near 
the lakes there are large fertile tracts. Pine, cedar, and fir forests cover 
the mountains, and there are other valuable trees, both on the mountains 
and in the valleys. In the extreme southeastern portion of the State 
is the Colorado Desert, about 140 miles long by 70 miles wide, which is 
the dry bed of a former inland sea. Another great basin, called the 
Mojave Basin, lying north of the Colorado Desert, extends into the 
southern part of the State, the surface of which is cut up by many 
irregular ridges of mountains. 

The Coast Range is composed of a multitude of ridges and is inter- 
sected by numerous long and narrow valleys of fertile soil, comprising 
those of the Los Angeles, Salinas, Santa Clara, Sonoma, Napa, and Rus- 
sian Rivers. The State has numerous small rivers. In the central por- 
tion are the Sacramento and San Joaquin, each in its meanderings about 
350 miles long. These are the only navigable streams in the State. 
From the Sierra Range westward into the Sacramento flow the Pitt, 
Feather, Yuba, American, Cousumnes, and Mokelumne Rivers. Into 
the San Joaquin flow the Calaveras, Stanislaus, Tuolumne, Merced, 
Chonechilla, and Fresno. Into Tulare Lake flow the Kings, Kameah, 
Tule, and White Rivers, and into Kern Lake the Kern River. All of 
these are considerable streams, with an average length of about 120 
miles. The upper half of each is in the steep and rugged mountains, 
where they are torrential in character. After reaching the plain their 
currents are gentle, and the banks low, fringed with oak, sycamore, 
Cottonwood, and willow. 

The rivers of the Coast Range flowing westward into the ocean south of 
San Francisco are the San Lorenzo, Pajaro, Salinas, Carmel, El Sur, and 
Cuyaina, Santa Inez, Santa Maria, Sau Buenaventura, Santa Clara, 


Los Angeles, San Gabriel, Santa Ana, Santa Margarita, San Luis 
Rey, and San Diego. Many of these are constant streams to within 10 
or 15 miles of their mouths, and all of them pass through rich valleys. 
North of San Francisco the streams of the Coast Range which empty 
into the ocean are the Russian, Eei, Elk, Mad, Klamath, and Smith 
Rivers, besides many others of less importance, all of which are perma- 
nent streams, bordered with narrow valleys at the foot of the mount- 
ains. To all of the rivers of the State flow many small tributaries. 
There are several important lakes, the Tulare, Owens, Kern, Clear, 
Klamath, Goose, Fall, Eagle, Honey, Elizabeth, Tahoe, Mono, and Dry 
Lakes. There are also a number of smaller ones. 

The southern portion of the great interior basin of California is com- 
monly known as the San Joaquin v alley, although it comprises the San 
Joaquin, Tulare, and Kern Valleys. The Tulare Valley is separated 
from the first named by alow ridge of land, scarcely noticeable, and in 
times of high water the southern lakes and rivers find an outlet through 
Fish and Fresno Sloughs into the San Joaquin River, thence to San Fran- 
cisco Bay. Properly, there is no division lying between the San Joaquin 
and Sacramento Valleys. The greatest length of San Joaquin Valley 
is 260 miles, the width varying from 30 to 70 miles. The area is 11,190 
square miles, or 7,225,600 acres. The eastern and western sides of the 
valley slope from the base of either range of mountains towards the lakes 
or streams in the lowest part, at the rate of 5 to 8 feet per mile ; also 
northward to tide- water in San Francisco Bay, with a general fall of 1 
foot to the mile. 

The Mount Diablo or main Coast Range on the west side of the val- 
ley has an average height of about 1,700 feet. The Sierra Nevada 
Mountains on the eastern side of the valley rise to a much greater 
height. Mount Whitney, in Tulare County, has an altitude of 15,056 
feet, and is the highest peak within the United States. From this mount- 
ain the summit-line of the range gradually lessens in height towards the 
north and more rapidly to the south. These mountains are rugged and 
broken, sharp, rocky ridges and granite spires rising abruptly to great 
altitudes. In the small valleys between these ridges is perpetual snow, 
and about the base of Mount Whitney are a number of small glaciers. 
This region has some of the wildest, grandest, and most beautiful scen- 
ery in the world. The San Emidio, or Tejou Mountains, a spur run- 
ning at right angles to the Sierra and Coast Ranges, and joining the two, 
form the southern boundary of the San Joaquin Valley. The foot-hills 
commence in the northern part of Fresno County at an altitude of 300 
feet above sea level, and in the extreme southern end of the valley at a 
height of 400 feet. In the hills are many valleys, some of them large 
and level, others more uneven. 

In the Coast Range there are few valleys. About the base of the 
range are gently-sloping table-lands at an altitude of 100 to 250 feet 
above the valley, from which the mountains ascend to sharp and nar- 
row ridges cut transversely at intervals of a few miles by natural passes 
extending through the range. The flanks of the Sierra broaden towards 
the south. The Sierra foot-hills in the portion of Tulare County, mid- 
way between the northern and southern boundaries, rise suddenly from 
the plain, but to the northward and southward, in Fresno and Kern 
Counties, the slope is more gradual, the hills lower, and the belt wider. 
To the eye of the traveler the plain generally presents a very level sur- 
face. In Fresno County, on the eastern slope of the valley, are scat- 
tered hillocks 20 to 30 feet in height, with a wide base, rendering them 


inconspicuous even at a short distance. These are not observable else- 
where in the Southern San Joaquin Valley. Extending along the entire 
length of the eastern side of the valley, near the foot-hills, is a belt of 
uneven country known as "hog-wallow" land. These "hog wallows" 
are little mounds ranging from a few inches to 3 or 4 feet in height, aver- 
aging 1 to 2 feet, with a diameter of 16 to 50 feet. There are no deep 
liver- beds traversing the upper part of the valley, although further 
north these are common. The beds of the southern streams, in fact, are 
in almost every case higher than the general level of the plain, having 
been built up into low, wide ridges, by the alluvium deposited during 
the rainy season through a long series of vears. 

Fresno, Tulare, and Kern Counties form the Southern San Joaquin 
Valley. The three counties have an aggregate area of 21,770 square 
miles, or about 13,932,800 acres. Of this large extent of country 13,SSo 
square miles, or 8,886,400 acres are mountain and hill land ; and 7,8S5 
square miles, or 5,046,400 acres are in the valley, making a body of arable 
land in these three counties (deducting the surface covered with water) 
equal to some of the larger Eastern States. This land is divided among 
the counties as follows : Fresno, 4,480 square miles, or 2,867,200 acres of 
mountain and hill land, and 3,520 square miles, or 2,252,800 acres of 
valley land ; Tulare, 3,835 square miles, or 2,454,400 acres of mountain 
and hill land, and 1,775 square miles, or 1,136,000 acres of valley land: 
Kern, 5,570 square miles, or 3,564,800 acres of mountain and hill land, 
and 2,590 square miles, or 1,657,600 acres of valley land, including the 
gently sloping plain skirting the base of the hills. There is a more 
gradual ascent from the valley proper in Kern than in either of the 
other two counties. The numerous valleys, large and small, in the mount- 
ains and foot-hills are not estimated as valley land. 

There is a large portion of the Southern San Joaquin Valley that is 
not dependent upon the streams for irrigation, the necessary quantity 
of water being obtainable from artesian wells. The artesian belt ex- 
tends from one end of the valley to the other. A good flow is usually 
obtained in boring to a depth of 300 to 600 feet. The first successful 
boring for artesian well water in Tulare County was made by the South- 
ern Pacific Eailroad in 1879 near Tipton, and a flow rising a half inch 
above the rim of the casing was secured at a depth of 310 feet. The 
well is on the eastern margin of the belt. This water was used for irri- 
gating a 40- acre tract of forest trees, which it did successfully. !No 
other wells were bored until 1881, when the Enterprise well, 4 h miles 
west of Tulare, was bored, and a flow of 1J inches obtained at a depth 
of 330 feet. 

Xo rock is encountered in boring, strata of sand, clay, and gravel, suc- 
ceeding one another. It is therefore necessary to use iron casing the 
whole distance, which is forced down after the auger. The depth at 
which the first water-bearing stratum of sand or gravel is penetrated 
is from 310 to 640 feet, although some of the wells have been put 
down to a depth of 800 feet, passing through several of these strata. 
The deepest in Tulare County are in the northwestern part, near Le- 
moore. The section in which the greatest number of good, flowing wells 
have been obtained is west of the Tulare and near Tipton, the water 
from some of them rising to a height of 5 or 6 inches above the casing. 
Wells are also shallower here than about Lemoore. The average depth 
in Tulare County is about 450 feet. There are in Tulare County about 
two hundred wells. It is impossible to give the exact number, as so 
many new ones are being bored. Since the success of the Enterprise 
well the number has been increasing continuously and rapidly. 


In Fresno County fewer wells have been bored. In the southern part 
of the county water is obtained in one well at a depth of 152 feet. 
Others have been bored in the region bordering on the San Joaquin 
Eiver, the depth of these averaging from 150 to 200 feet. In Kern 
County, at the southern extremity of this great basin, artesian wells 
were bored several years ago and water was obtained at a depth of 200 
to 250 feet, the average depth being less than in Tulare County. Some 
fifteen or twenty wells have been bored in the county. One, 470 feet 
deep, furnished about 30 gallons per minute. Others have been bored 
more recently north of Poso Creek, in the region about Delano and 
Alila, and elsewhere in the county. The average flow from the wells 
of Tulare County may be placed at 2 J inches above the casing. 

The quantity of water furnished by a well of this capacity is about 
247 gallons per minute, or a little more than half of a second foot. In 
parts of the San Joaquin Valley shallow wells have been known to fail 
after two or three successive years of light rainfall, and to flow again 
after a wet season. This has not happened in the southern portion of 
the valley. The deeper wells continue to flow regularly. It is claimed 
that some of the wells in Tulare County will each irrigate 160 acres of 
land thoroughly ; and after the ground has been irrigated and cultivated 
a number of years, and the methods of applying the water perfected, a 
greater acreage can be successfully watered. 

The Mussel Slough region in Tulare County was the first to be irri- 
gated on a large scale, and soon became famous for the productiveness 
of its land. In the foot-hills there is generally sufficient rain, except in 
very dry years, to mature crops. Where the soil is loose and sandy, 
and where irrigation has been in use for a term of years, little water is 
required other than that supplied by the rainfall, the ground being suf- 
ficiently moist from seepage. In places moisture will permeate the 
ground for miles from the ditches. In some portions of Kern County 
the farms comprise from 640 to 1,800 acres, and the checks made for 
irrigating are surrounded by strong, low embankments, made with a 
view to permanency. The ditches are made on the highest laud, and 
the levees inclosing these irregularly-shaped checks are built so as to 
take advantage of the natural inequalities in the surface. 

The foot-hill region contiguous to the great valley which has been 
frequently referred to, deserves more extended notice. This belt is of 
varying width, extending along the Sierra Nevada Mountains. In the 
mild climate of the Southern Joaquin plain, it is most valuable for the 
growth of citrus and other semi-tropical fruits. It is particularly adapted 
to early fruits of all kinds. It has already been stated that fruit ripens 
much sooner in the orchards of the Fresno and Tulare County foot-hills 
than on the plains. The same is true of Kern County. Experience 
demonstrates that in the valley at the mouth of Kern River Canon, 
twelve miles from the Southern Pacific Railroad at Sumner, frosts begin 
one month earlier than in the valley and cease a month earlier in the 
spring, and during the coldest period are less severe than on the 

Peaches in the foot-hills have ripened a month earlier than on Kern 
Island ; all kinds of stone fruits mature early, while other kinds that 
do not bear well or regularly in the valley grow to perfection here. An 
isothermal line drawn through the axis of this belt would traverse the 
lower and more easily cultivated portion of the foot-hills and at the 
southern end of the valley would extend upward and inland to the 
abrupt mountain wall where Kern River Canon bisects the range, 


where it would approach nearer to the valley than further north, 
owing to the topography of the mountains and not to other conditions 
influencing climate. Above the thermal belt, extending through the 
region of black oak to and into the pine and redwood forests, is an 
extensive area adapted to the production of a great variety of crops, 
and particularly to those fruits that require a cooler climate than that 
of the lower foot-hills and plain. The soil is rich, but the greater part 
of the hill land is covered with a dense growth of chamiso, manzanita, 
chaparral, and other brush, which must be cleared before the land can 
be cultivated. 

Small clearings have already been made, and the result has been to 
encourage others to enter or purchase and do likewise. At no distant 
day this will be an important section of the agricultural and fruit- 
growing portion of the three counties named. It is a healthy region. 
The rainfall is greater than in the valley, and, by conducting water 
from the mountain streams, by the system of piping employed in other 
parts of the State, a sufficient supply can be obtained to irrigate all the 
best cultivable land; and by the conservation of water in reservoirs 
during the wet season the small streams could be depended upon to 
furnish a sufficient supply for a large aggregate area not readily reached 
by the maiu streams. Above an altitude of 1,200 feet in Fresno, 1,500 
feet in Tulare, and 2,000 in Kern County, there is sufficient rainfall to 
make irrigation unnecessary. 

In the region midway between the plain and the mountains proper 
the hills are generally precipitous, and although small valleys are nu- 
merous, there are few of any considerable area. Land in the Southern 
San Joaquin Valley remote from water supplies has in only a very few 
instances advanced materially above Government price ; whereas that 
lying contiguous to or supplied with water has advanced several hun- 
dred per cent, in value, having been converted from grazing to pro- 
ductive agricultural and fruit land. In Fresno County only has the 
colony plan of settlement been carried to any great extent. At present 
there are two colonies in Tulare County, and one or two large tracts of 
land for sale in lots of 10 to 40 acres. Twenty acres are sufficient for 
fruit growing, and 40 acres is the largest tract that one man or family 
should attempt to cultivate, for it pays better to give careful attention 
to 20 or 40 acres than to imperfectly work more. The first colony 
started in Fresno County was the Central, near the town of Fresno, on 
the west side of the railroad. The land on which it was located was a 
treeless, uninviting plain, and, except in the wet season, verdureless. 
Now the elm, fig, cherry, and other trees give names to the avenues 
along which they are planted, and the tract presents a succession of 
flourishing orchards and vineyards, with scores of beautiful and com- 
fortable homes, surrounded by shrubbery, green lawns, and flowers. 
Other colonies have since been started, and are in a more or less ad- 
vanced state. The principal ones are the Washington, Nevada, Fresno, 
Scandinavian, Easterby, and American, which follow in the order 

Land is still to be had with permanent water rights, the price de- 
pending on the conditions. 

The area of California in its relations to irrigation falls into the fol- 
lowing divisions : 

(a) The natural area of sources, supply, and reservoirs ; that is, the 
higher portions of the Sierra Nevada, upon the western flanks and 
summits of which the snow precipitation is heavy, whose physical 
formation creates the great catchment basins, and whose altitude is 


sufficient to break, deflect, and desiccate the great moisture-bearing 
currents from the Pacific Ocean. 

(b) The foot-hills region, extending from Mount Shasta to the San 
Bernardino Eange. This is the seat also of the important mining oper- 
ations of the State. It is, consequently, the area in which the water- 
supply section has been largely drawn upon and made extensively 
available by means of catchment areas, dams, ditches, and flumes. It 
is also, especially in what is designated as the lower foot-hills where 
the altitude is below 2,500 feet, an area in which these supplies and 
distributing agencies, natural and artificial, have been extensively 
utilized for agricultural and horticultural purposes. 

Experience has proved that in this subdivision of the State, which 
for all practical purposes embraces nearly all of Northern California, 
irrigation must, for such industrial purposes, be heavier and more con- 
tinuous than elsewhere. Irrigation enterprises therein have up to date 
been largely of a personal and individual character, except where the 
hydraulic mining companies have utilized their larger water- works and 
channels, with the surplus waters they controlled, by selling the latter 
to the farmers and horticulturists of the region. The quite recent ju- 
dicial decisions restraining the hydraulic miners from pouring their 
slickens or debris into the upper streams and rivers of the State, thus 
destroying the value of the agricultural regions below as well as filling 
up the navigable portions of the rivers and raising the beds of San 
Pablo and San Francisco bays, must have the effect of greatly enlarg- 
ing the agricultural utilization of the catchment areas, reservoirs, and 
main ditches used heretofore almost exclusively in the mining industry. 

(c) This subdivision embraces the great valley region of the State, its 
most important wheat and grain growing section, and includes the exten- 
sive drainage basins of the Sacramento, San Joaquin, Feather, Bear, 
Yuba, American, Oosumnes, Mokelumne, Tuolumne, Merced, Kings, 
Fresno, Kern, and other streams, large and small. It covers an area of 
over 34,000 square miles, divided into sixteen counties, within which 
every problem connected with the industrial use of water and its con- 
servation, legal and practical, is in process of both application and 
discussion. The most extensive canal system, and the combination of 
farming interests in the control of supply, or the application of capital- 
istic enterprise to induce land settlement primarily and water purchase 
subsequently, are to be found therein. 

There are also, as already noted, well-developed artesian belts in the 
upper portions of this region. The lower portions are subject to tidal 
overflow and river inundations, while the existence of water at a mod- 
erate depth is being demonstrated in almost every portion of the great 
valley areas. This region embraces not only the major portion of the 
wheat-producing area, but is also the seat of large viticultural and hor- 
ticultural activity. 

Perhaps the most gratifying as well as significant fact developed by 
the irrigation experience of California, especially in the valley region, is 
that connected with quality of the soils, which are generally of great 
thickness and tenacity. Underlying the surface soils there are found 
almost everywhere at moderate depths, impervious strata, by which 
the water drawn too rapidly from the overdrained surface has been 
happily preserved. Owing to this almost generally established condi- 
tion of things, water throughout the central portions of the State is being 
obtained from ordinary wells. It is pumped to the surface and distrib- 
uted by the agency of the peculiar wind-mills in use, which are now 
known in all parts of the world. 


The altitude of the California valleys is nowhere very great, and the 
lower portions are at but moderate heights above sea level. That of the 
foot-hills region is from 2,500 to 4,000 feet. California experience brings 
into prominence the question whether the cultivation of the soil in sur- 
face-dry and wind-desiccated areas, such as the valleys and lower table- 
lands of that State were assumed to be but a few years since, does not 
of itself tend directly to an increase of surface humidity by capillary 
attraction, or the drawing upon the water supplies that are unquestion- 
ably found in the underlying strata. Another question suggested is, 
whether such supplies are not to be found flowing below or underlying 
considerable areas of the valley plains and table-land regions of Central 
and Southern California and elsewhere within our dry areas. The pre- 
cipitation of rain and snow, with the annual melting of the latter, would 
be in itself sufficient to feed such subterranean bodies. 

It is evident that these aqueous supplies do not directly flow to the 
ocean within the hyclrological channels and basins that have been worn 
through the surface and other strata. The streams and rivers of Cali- 
fornia do not carry volume enough to account for the amount of deposi- 
tion that must occur within the subdivision designated as the source 
and supply area of the Sierras. If subterranean bodies of water exist 
they will be utilized by borings. The high altitude at which waters 
disappear into the earth must give them, when arrested under the 
table-lands and plains below by impervious strata, a force ample to pro- 
pel the same up and above the surface, and to give them the value of 
living perennial streams or springs. In fine, there are two sources of 
subterranean waters to be utilized in California for fuller industrial pur- 
poses. The first is the water arrested in its flow from tbe surface, at 
moderate depths, and which can be reached and drawn upward by the 
loosening of the soil consequent upon cultivation, and by the hardy and 
penetrative qualities of the plant roots. The other source is to be found 
in the deeper bodies that are presumably the lost and sunken floods of 
the Sierras. That such bodies exist there is more than mere conjectural 
data to indicate. 

(d) Passing from these points, the other division of Southern California 
embraces some of the features of both the valley and foot-hiils regions. It 
is also affected in its western portion by the trade winds and other coast 
influences, and its extreme southern and eastern section is modified 
and molded by the great Colorado plateau formation, of which the 
boundary mountains and mesas, or table-lands, are in fact a part. There 
are great stretches of arid mesa, or secondary table-land, which must 
be counted as desert, though the major portion has native grasses suf- 
ficient to feed a large number of animals. There is also sufficient de- 
velopment, especially in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties, to 
indicate the possibility of profitable reclamation in the case of consid- 
erable portions of these so-called deserts, provided the waters now availa- 
ble, explored, and in part utilized, can be distributed over their surface. 
The Southern California division approaches, in many of its products, 
a semi-tropical fertility and luxuriance. It is the chief seat of the or- 
ange culture. The lemon, olive, date, fig, almond, pomegranate, necta- 
rine, and other fruit trees requiring warm and fecund soils, grow in 
abundance there. The upper or northerly part of this subdivision forms 
a part of the great wheat-producing area of the State. 

The table-land or mesa portions are also extensively utilized for the 
pasturage of cattle and sheep. In the southern section of California, 
the absence of any considerable hyclrological basins with flowing waters 
in them makes the methods of conservation of great significance. The 


economic use of Avater therein has almost approached perfection. The 
conservation of the Los Angeles Biver, and of other similar but smaller 
streams, within the three great counties into which Southern California 
is legally divided, is in proof of this. 

The practical legal issues involved in the conservation and distribu- 
tion of water for economic uses within the State of California are of a 
most serious character. 

There are district community methods of control, as seen in the laws 
and policy found operative within the State. The first comes from the 
admixture of the Indian community, or pueblo life, with that of the 
Spanish conqueror, both being affected and shaped by the needs and 
customs of people to whom irrigation has always been a prime necessity. 
The Indian, with his tribal, clan, or village organization, has regarded 
land and water as common or communal property, in the use of which 
all had a right. The Spaniard regarded the land as his by conquest, 
but held that the water, being necesssary for its full utilization and 
profit, must be controlled by the king, i. e., the state, and therefore 
should be for the public use. The English common-law doctrine of ripa- 
rian rights had no place in the economy of either people. The public 
charge of the water supply at Los Angeles and elsewhere in Southern 
California illustrates the perfection to which the community may bring 
control and distribution. The discovery of gold brought with it in Cal- 
ifornia the rapid adoption of a miners' code, both as to the occupation 
of mineral u claims v and the control of water rights. 

This code has become the foundation of nearly all our legislation, 
State and national, as to the disposition and use of the mineral lands, 
and, in a miuor degree, it has also dominated and shaped the water 
usages so far as mining is concerned. The public use of water is fairly 
established in that connection ; but as to the other and larger utiliza- 
tion of water in agriculture, the drift of events within the dry area, but 
especially in California, seems to have been in the opposite direction. 
This tendency began early in the construction of large works in the 
upper foot-hills and Sierra regions, for the purpose of obtaining a water- 
supply large enough to carry on the great hydraulic enterprises, which 
for a quarter of century past, have been so marked a feature of Califor- 
nia gold-mining. 

The water-courses and supplies of the State have thus been passing 
under the control, in forms more or less direct, of incorporated com- 
panies. Some of these are composed of those by whom. both land and 
water are to be used in conjunction. Others are composed of those who 
have obtained possession and ownership of great bodies of land, and, in 
order to either use or dispose of them, have been obliged at large out- 
lays to bring water thereon. The tendency in all directions is to put 
the farmer at the disposal of chartered collectors of water taxes, for 
such must be the form of payment for the use of one of the great divis- 
ions. or elements of natural property — water. This tax must be equi- 
table or otherwise, according to the character of the State or local con- 
trol over those who vend the same, and the needs thereof by those who 
pay. What will be the effect on this tendency of the recent decision of 
the State Supreme Court upholding the doctrine of riparian rights, as 
against the rights of appropriation, remains to be seen. The different 
systems have ample illustration within the State, that of community 
control being seen in its most marked aspects at Los Angeles, while 
different methods of association and incorporation and of construction 
and control of irrigation works will be found in large form at such points 
as Eiverside or Fresno, in Tulare and Kern Counties, and elsewhere. 
S. Mis. 15 2 


The State has, by legislation and administrative control, done some- 
thing; these later years to put private enterprise, in its dealings with 
the water-supply, under the sovereignty of the body politic. California 
is now divided into irrigation districts. A State engineer has been 
placed in a supervisory position over these, and encouragement is given 
to the owners, occupants, and cultivators of land to enter upon the 
work of irrigation in the form of joint-stock associations. Under these 
laws the extent of conservation and distribution is in a large degree 
placed under control, and local rules, sanctioned by experience, are al- 
lowed to have the force of law. 

The State Supreme Court has recently complicated the question of 
water use by the decision above referred to. The particular case 
that called this decision forth relates to a great irrigation enterprise 
carried out by large land owners, who have diverted a considerable 
portion of the waters of the Kern Eiver, in Southern California, over 
the lands they own, and are preparing for sale and occupation. The 
land owners on the same stream below the ones adversely affected by 
the decision have gained their points, but the questions involved in the 
decision are so serious as to affect the rights and necessities of many 
thousands of farmers and horticulturists all over the State, and may, in- 
directly, perhaps, do so over the entire area within which the artificial 
conservation and distribution of water must become a prime necessity 
of land occupation and cultivation. 

It is suggested by some intelligent irrigationists that it would be easy 
for a wealthy corporation of water holders and land owners to cripple 
all the farmers below them on any stream unless there was some modi- 
fying legal right enforced, either by priority of ditch construction or 
water preemption, or by tbe enforcement of the common-law doctrine of 
riparian rights, modified as to the amount to be used by any owner, and 
providing for the return of surplus or unused waters to the upper streams, 
so that land owners below may have their equities preserved. 

There is another and very important question to be considered, and 
that is as to the effect of irrigation on the general health. In California 
considerable attention has been paid to this subject, and in 1884 a report 
on the subject was made by the State Board of Health. There are con- 
flicting opinions in the report made by the board. In certain counties, 
as Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, San Diego, irrigation has 
been, employed for over a century, and the absence of malarial disease 
is noted, as well vvhere irrigation is practiced as where it is not. 

Other portions of California show a marked increase of malarial fever 
where irrigation is practiced. It is not difficult to discover the reasons; 
for this. In Los Angeles and other valleys in extreme Southern Cali- 
fornia, where the soil is, as a rule, sandy or gravelly loam of unknown 
depth, the water used in irrigating sinks into the ground or (on sloping - 
surface) drains off immediately. It does not remain to saturate the soil 
unless there be a stratum of clay (hardpan) near the surface. In such 
sections of the country there is almost entire freedom from malarial 
diseases. Along tbe bottom lands of rivers, and where the slope is in- 
sufficient to insure good drainage, or where the soil is saturated con- 
stantly, the case is different, and there are intermittent and remittent 
fevers during the warmer seasons of the year. The fact that the peo- 
ple living in these low, wet sections of country are dependent upon im- 
pure or surface water for drinking and domestic purposes aggravates; 
the difficulty, for it has been demonstrated that people living in a fever- 
and-ague country are tolerably exempt from the disease ii* they drink: 
only pure water. 


In the report of the State Board of Health of California we find a re- 
port made by W. S. Green, editor of the Colusa Sun, to the State Irriga- 
tion Convention, in May, 1884, in which the above theory is fully sus- 
tained by observation. He says: 

My conclusions are ; therefore, that irrigation will tend to bring on malarial dis- 
orders as it raises the water in wells to a newer strata of earth, but no farther. When 
we irrigate so as to produce this effect we must go down after pure drinking water or 
bring it to our houses by pipes. 


The methods employed to prevent zymotic diseases in irrigated dis- 
tricts is receiving considerable attention, and the most successful is the 
removal of the surface water, and, where possible, provision for sys- 
tematic drainage; for, says the report, '' irrigation, in order to be innocu- 
ous, must go hand in hand with drainage." 

From all portions of California letters from medical practitioners 
and other residents are in singular accord in saying that irrigation, 
when properly managed, does not produce any increase of malarial dis- 


Within the limits of the second great division of the arid region ex- 
tending east and west from the one hundred and fifth to the one hundred 
and twentieth degree of west longitude, and north and south from the 
British to the Mexican boundary, irrigation works and experiments of 
value will be found in progress, small in extent, perhaps, in most cases, 
but extensive when aggregated. 

The larger portion of Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, and all but 
a small portion of Eastern Montana, are within the limits assigned. 
The whole of Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and Arizona, and the eastern half 
of Oregon and Washington Territory are also included. The region 
comprises 15 degrees of longitude and nearly 17 of latitude, and makes 
a total area of 1,100 by 900 miles square. In its northern portion very 
little worth mentioning has been attempted in the way of irrigation. 
In Utah, however, an extensive system is well under way, and a large 
area has been reclaimed. The value of the work accomplished is seen 
not only in the valleys near to Salt Lake City, but in all the Mormon 
settlements within the Territory. The influence of the Mormon polity 
in directing industrial activity has often been commented upon. In no 
one thing is it more apparent than in this great work of the conserva- 
tion and distribution of the water supply. It exhibits several note- 
worthy features. They are: 

(a) The treatment of natural water supplies, under legislation, as 
public property, to be used for the common benefit. 

(b) The construction of all distributive agencies (artificial) at the cost 
necessarily of those to be benefited. 

(c) The incorporation of the expected beneficiaries by neighborhood 
companies, under general law, and the assessing of costs co-operatively, 
by means of share purchasing and holding, according to the number of 
acres to be served by the water so utilized. 

(d) The distribution of water under stated regulations, which have 
the effect of law, under the supervision of an officer specially chosen 
for the purpose. 

(e) The payment for this authorized use by means of stated rates, 
levied upon the volume of water used. 


That these deductions are well founded will be seen from the following 
facts and statements, which are given at some length because of the 
importance and adaptability of the Mormon method : 

The usual plan of irrigation is to go well up the canons and start a 
channel 20 feet wide by 4 feet deep, and carry this along the side of the 
canon, and then round the side of the main range so as to command as 
large an area of level land as possible. The ditching, except in the 
rocky portions at the head of the caiion channel, is done by plow and 
scoop, one of the lightest of the latter implements, worked by a pair 
of mules, being invariably used. There are two 30-mile-long main 
ditches led along each side of the Jordan, and one 35 miles long is con- 
ducted from a mountain caiion in the direction of JProvo, along the foot 
of the range towards Salt Lake City, thus providing water for a con- 
siderable area of country under the ditch. 

The Mormon irrigation law provides for the proclamation as a water 
district of any piece of territory which can be commanded by an irrigat- 
ing ditch, the nomination of water masters, penalties against wasting 
water, the giving of permission to carry the ditch through any private 
property upon a fair valuation for the land used, authority to tax for 
maintenance of channels, and to appoint taxation trustees, whose powers 
are made very broad with respect to determining what shall be described 
as land benefited by the construction of the irrigating channels. The 
law also gives protection to primary water rights, which means that any 
person who has drawn water from a water-course by means of an irrigat- 
ing work previous to the proclamation of any locality as a water dis- 
trict, has his right protected as a primary claim up to the quantity of 
water he was in the actual use of at the date of proclamation. Having 
covered these points, the law has made the way open for the action of 
private enterprise, which in all cases undertakes the construction. The 
next step is the formation of a joint-stock company, which may be formed 
of not less than three individuals and not more than seven, and 
further provides that such corporation work shall be exempted from 
general tax for county and State purposes, to which all other kinds 
of property are subject. The farmers and others interested then meet 
in public and arrange the formation of the company and the distri- 
bution of shares, and then vote as to whether the tax for maintenance 
and management purposes, after the main ditch has been completed, 
shall be upon all the land within the water district or upon "the land 
to be benefited." They can also confer arbitrary powers upon the 
assessing trustees, as a difficulty had been found to occur with parties 
who refused to contribute to the maintenance tax on the plea that 
they are not taking water, although, owing to favorable positions in 
relation to either the main or subsidiary ditches, their lands are being 
effectually irrigated by means of seepage. The shares are always $10 
each, and each share represents an acre of land with a perpetual water 
right to that acre, subject only to the maintenance tax. The company 
being formed, the farmers, or intending farmers in most cases — for many 
of the tillers have just arrived as immigrants — of the water districts 
take up all the shares they can. This is usually a very small percentage 
of the whole, as they are poor, and their shares are mainly paid for by 
work in the ditch. After the farmers have taken their shares, the 
wealthy citizens take the balance amongst themselves, and on goes the 
making of the ditch, the intending farmers working on their farms at 
the rate of $20 a month, and the non-working shareholders putting on 
labor by contract, which amounts to an average of 10 cents per cubic 


yard, the heavier work in the canon being by special agreement, ac- 
cording to the difficulties of the work. When the work is completed 
the farmers have as many water rights as they have taken out shares, 
and they who have furnished most of the capital then begin to make 
their profit. 

The most expensive thing in connection with an irrigating work in 
Utah, as elsewhere, is the main head, where the water is taken from 
the stream. Sometimes the channel is taken sufficiently far up the 
caiion to tap the stream without a dam, but in other cases it is found 
the lesser of two expensive works to dam the stream at a lower point 
rather than undertake the heavy quarrying or tunneling required higher 
up. The dams are of various kinds, according to circumstances, but 
that known to engineers as "the mud-sill" is mostly built over broad, 
shallow streams, and "the crib," used for deeper and narrower torrents 
up the canons. 

Small farmers generally secure a water right for each acre, but others 
who hold, say from 40 to 80 acres, sometimes only take water right suf- 
ficient for half their area, working one-half as a tillage-farm and the 
other as a grazing block, alternately. A water right means the priv- 
ilege of taking as much water as the land requires during the irrigating 
season, and the maintenance tax varies from 10 cents to 16 cents per 
acre per annum, according to " easiness " or otherwise of the channels. 
Subsidiary ditches, called laterals* are made by the farmers at their 
own cost, from side heads fitted with sluices, through which the water- 
master lets out as much water as may be required during any particular 
day. Thus there may be ten farmers along a certain lateral holding 
from "five to forty acres of land each, and they may have water rights to 
cover the whole or any part of their holdings. The water-master knows 
how many water rights are along each lateral, and every morning he looks 
at his notice boxes, which are attached to the sluice-heads at the place 
where the laterals leave the main channel. The farmers generally ar- 
range to irrigate day about, each at the proper time posting up the 
notice, "I intend to irrigate to-day," and as the water-master knows how 
many acres are possessed by the persons signing, and how many water 
rights, he is able to make his arrangements accordingly. His water 
gauge, which is simply a wooden slat in the lateral sluice-head, gradu- 
ated so as to let a crtain number of cubic feet run through in a given 
time, is then lifted to the necessary mark, and the water laid on until 
the irrigation is completed. The gauge is arranged so as to let a cubic 
foot per second flow through for each hundred acres of land. Thus: 
If A's notice represents five water rights, B's fifteen, and C's thirty, 
the water-master knows that fifty water rights want water, and he sets 
the gauge to run at the rate of half a cubic foot per second. This is 
not for the purpose of measuring the water, but only as a gauge to ar- 
range the flow to suit the irrigation requirements of the several farmers 
situated along the lateral. 

The time occupied in flooding a certain area diifers according to the 
" lay " and quality of the soil. The water-master soon learns how much 
time each irrigator usually occupies, and his knowledge on that 
point, together with the law against wasting water, which is strict, 
operates to prevent the flow of w 7 ater longer than is absolutely required. 
The water-master notes in his book the time of letting the water on, 
together with the number of water rights that are drawing, and it is his 
business to visit the irrigators about the proper time, and see about 
shutting off. 


Each acre of laud brought within the influence of the canal is in- 
creased in value, and the ten-dollar shares go up in the market. The 
water enables the working' fanner to pay his passage-money back to the 
Mormon Church, together with the tithe of all he raises, and, further, 
the expenses of his maintenance, advanced to him during the construc- 
tion of the ditches ; and yet after paying all these charges, in addition 
to say 10 cents an acre for maintenance of the ditches, he makes money. 
Each share in theProvo ditch, for instance, costs $10. That represents 
an acre of land, with a perpetual water right. Without the water right 
the laud was absolutely valueless. It is now quoted at from $25 to $G0 
per acre, according to situation. 

The extent of irrigation in the settements of Utah cannot be ac- 
curately stated, as there have been no general official statistics pub- 
lished since 1875. At that date there were in the twenty orgauized 
counties 2,095^ miles of principal canals, costing $1,918,174, and 4,88Sf 
miles of tributary canals, costing $503,320. This was a total construc- 
tion of 0,981 miles of canals and ditches, at a cost of $2,421,491. The 
total cultivated area within the district "underwater" was 302,766 acres, 
of which 106,184 acres did not require the application of water at all. 
Mr.. Caine, Delegate in Congress from Utah, under date of December, 
1884, estimated that there were in the tour most prosperous counties of 
that Territory irrigation (main) canals, as follows : 







$300, 000 

250, 000 

550, 000 

1, '250 000 



2, 350, 000 

As compared with 1875 the increase in tributary canals in the counties 
named is 2,132 miles, costing $216,596. The cultivated area "under 
water," or within the irrigation districts of these counties, in 1875, was 
about 102,000 acres, or one-third of the total. It has unquestionably 
doubled, as the estimated increase of main canals in 1884 over 1875 was 
289 miles, or very nearly one-half more than the main mileage of 1875. 

It would not be fair, Mr. Caine suggests, to consider the increase as 
great in other counties of the Territory. But there has been no retro- 
gression. An estimate which adds one-fourth to the system of irrigation 
and the acreage affected by it in 1884 would be within moderate bounds 
for the remaining sixteen counties. That would give a total cultivated 
area of over 656,000 acres, a .main canal construction of 2,810 miles, and 
one of tributary works aggregating 7,750 miles. 

Mr. Caine sends the following interesting report on water supply and 
irrigation in Utah : 

Whatever conditions future developments may bring about, tbe present water sup- 
ply in Utah Territory is surface. It depends entirely upon the fall of snow in the 
winter, and to a slight degree upon the rainfall during the fall and spring months. 
As a natural consequence the character of the water supply is found in mountain 
streams. The fall of snow in the mountains is incomparably greater than in the val- 
leys, and it lasts much longer, for the reason that the cold is much severer. 

The snow packs in the ravines until almost as hard and solid, as stones. The so- 
lidifying is materially assisted by what are termed "January thaws," the result of 
a marked relaxation in the severity of the weather, which generally occurs during 


the month of January. This temporary relaxation is invariably followed by a re- 
newal of the rigor of winter, when the snow that has settled and become packed by 
the thaw, freezes until it is almost a solid mass of ice. This snow is the source of ail 
streams in Utah save the little running water that comes through rains. 

The volume of these streams depends entirely upon the season of the year. During 
the winter months the supply is very small, for the reason that the quantity of snow 
is at its minimum and the cold has a tendency to stay the flow. With the disappear- 
ance of winter and the increased warmth of the sun the snow begins to melt, the vol- 
ume of water increases and continues to grow until tiny and puny streams are swol- 
len into rushing torrents, sometimes causing great damage from the oveflowing of 
their banks. The water supply attains its maximum height between the 10th and 
20th of the month of June. This statement may be given the force that attaches to 
a rule almost if not entirely without exception. The solidifying and freezing of the 
snow in winter, as above stated, makes certain the tenure of the water supply that 
would otherwise be both uncertain and disastrous; it prevents the too rapid melting 
which would result in absolutely uncontrollable torrents for a period, and thus makes 
the streams available for agricultural purposes. 

A few artesian or so-called artesian wells exist, but their depth, according to the 
ideas of those most conversant with the subject, is not great enough to entitle them 
to be classed among wells that tap living streams of water. The outflow is compara- 
tively small, and some fill up after a few months and cease to flow. The' average 
depth is not to exceed 200 feet, and they are believed to be fed only by seepage from 
the mountains, or catch-water seeking for a subterranean outlet or inlet. The seep- 
age out from Great Salt Lake it is also thought may contribute toward the mainte- 
nance of the so-called artesian wells in Salt Lake Valley, and these wells exist al- 
most exclusively in this valley. There are few living springs, none of such importance 
as to make any ligure in the estimate of the water supply of the Territory. Indeed, 
the combined supply from this source is insignificant. 

There is a notable exception to the general proposition laid down above, as regards 
the source and supply of water. This exception is found in the southern portion of 
Utah, that part lying to the south of the Great Basin. This country is between 2,300 
and 2,000 feet above the sea-level ; as a consequenco there is little if any snow-fall. 
The winter is a rainy season. The country is terribly broken, sand and sandstone be- 
ing the prevailing groundwork. If snow does fall it remains a few hours at most and 
then disappears. Rain-storms of any magnitude invariably produce swollen streams, 
and the torrents pour down the narrow rugged beds and begin to disappear almost as 
soon as the rain ceases. Hence the volume of water is precarious, uncertain, and gen- 
erally insufficient. It is greatest in the spring of the year, and sudden thaws indis- 
tant mountains to the north are generally accompanied by loss of property, as the 
sandy, unstable character of the soil renders it an easy subject for the action of water, 
and dams, canals, and large tracts of farming lands are sometimes swept away. 

The experience of Utah farmers as to the best methods for increasing and preserv- 
ing the water supply would be valuable only to i^eople surrounded by a similar coun- 
try with like elemental conditions existing. The only means of increasing the water 
supply is, so far as existing knowledge throws any light upon the subject, confined to 
the introduction of genuine artesian wells. Experiments, sufficiently thorough to 
clearly demonstrate the success that would attend the digging or boring of such wells 
in Utah, have not been made. The best opinions, however, are that the geological 
conditions existing in Utah are peculiarly favorable to their introduction and success- 
ful development. 

The Territory, or rather its habitable portion, is composed of valleys, mountains, 
and canons, with some lakes. The melting snow on mountain and in valley which 
fails to find its way into some of the streams must sink and collect somewhere, and 
there is a well-founded belief, which could easily be verified, that beneath these val- 
leys are subterranean lakes that would feed with a never-failing supply of water 
innumerable artesian wells. To increase the supply by other means would be to in- 
crease the fall of snow, a thing humanity is not yet prepared to base a calculation upon. 
Preserving methods are, however, more practicable, and nature has done her best to 
make that task as light as jiossible. The outlet for all streams is into the valleys. 
The streams come from the cations high above the valleys and the supply can be pre- 
served or saved by the construction of reservoirs or by dams. In case the latter 
method was adopted it would simply be necessary to select the most suitable place in 
season and place a dam across the ravine. 

The work would be more or less expensive as the stream was large or small and 
the caiion wide or narrow, but in every cation suitable points abound, and as the 
future development and continued prosperity of Utah largely depend upon her per- 
manent and increased water-supply, her people will be forced to resort to damming 
the streams within their natural confines in the ravines. To what extent this idea, 
carried out, would save the water that yearly runs to waste, the word " waste " being 


used here \\ ith the knowledge that every drop of water is invaluable in a country 
where agriculture depends upon irrigation, it is absolutely impossible to form even 
an est [mate, and for several reasons : First, the volume of the stream differs every day 
in the year, and one year from another. Second, it would require a measurement of 
the streams and a knowledge of the amount consumed in irrigation and in local evap- 
oration, which would increase with increased distributing canals and ditches. It may 
be safe to state, however, that if complete and thorough methods of saving were in- 
troduced, all the land in the Territory, if it could be reached, could be well and 
thoroughly irrigated; this, too, without resorting to artesian wells, so vast is the 
amount of water that runs to waste during the winter, spring, and early summer 

There is in Utah no bureau of statistics, and it is impossible to give any correct idea 
of the extent, character, and cost of the artificial means introduced in the Territory 
for the utilization and distribution of the water supply. As to flumes for mining and 
railroad imrposes it is impossible to give oven an estimate. Very little is necessary 
for railroad purposes, and where water is not otherwise naturally available,- wells are 
utilized, and form the almost exclusive supply. Itis sufficient with regard to mining, 
as flumes are used in this case to carry off water from the lower workings of the mines. 
There is no hydraulic mining carried on in Utah, for which reason supply flumes, 6ave 
for reduction works, concentrators, leaching purposes, and milling, are unnecessary. 
It is not "infrequently the case that the water out of the mine is more than enough to 
run the mills. 

The Ontario mine, in Summit County, has run a tunnel flume underneath the ground 
for a distance of more than a mile. This flume carries off the water from the work- 
ings of the mine GOO or 700 feet deep, and saves the expense of hoisting a large volume 
of water to the surface. With this exception it is probable that the men most inter- 
ested in the mines do not themselves know the cost of their waste or surplus water 

In 1875 the legislature of the Territory authorized and ru'ovided for the compilation 
and publication of general statistics with regard to the material, educational, and 
social status of the Territory. The work was done probably as well as circumstances 
rendered possible at that time, the task never having been previously attempted. 
Since ttiat time no further attempt has been made looking to the gathering of statis- 
tical data; that is, no attempt of an authorized character beyond what was accom- 
plished through the Census Bureau in 1880. These reports were doubtless approxi- 
mately correct when made, but material alterations would be necessary at this date, 
and they can only be guessed at now, save in the cases of Salt Lake, Cache, Utah, and 
Weber Counties, where something like reliable data have been secured.* 

With the increase in main canals there has been a proportionate increase in sub- 
canals, or distributing canals, and irrigation ditches in the same ratio as the irrigating 
ditches hold to the main canals, as seen in the accompanying Exhibit A. It would be 
a mistake to suppose that there has been an increase in the other counties propor- 
tionate with that of the four specially referred to above ; the four named are the 
most populous, fertile, and wealthy in the Territory, and their facilities for increased 
water supjdy are incomparably greater than those found in other portions of the Ter- 

As heretofore stated, the increase and decrease in the water supply depends entirely 
upon the fall of snow in winter, and, to an unimportant degree, upon the fall of rain 
in the fall, spring, and early summer months. A very noteworthy fact, attested on 
the best of authority, is that for a period of years there has been a steady increase 
in the water supply. It has been thought by many that the claim of increased water 
has been more imaginary than real. The claim, however, has been verified by meas- 
urements made in Great Salt Lake, which is the reservoir for many of the largest 
mountain streams, including the Jordan, which is the outlet for Utah Lake, the Bear 
River, the Ogden, Weber, Logan, and Blacksmith Fork, and innumerable smaller 

The lake has a shore line of 350 miles, and since 1856 the water has increased 14 
feet in depth ; and Great Salt Lake, depending as it does entirely upon the inflowing 
of mountain streams and that amount of water which is not consumed by agricult- 
ural utilization, shows beyond question that there has been a marked increase in the 
water supply. 

This rise in the body of the water of the lake has taken place, it must be remem- 
bered, during a period when there was a rapid increase in the demand for water for 
agricultural purposes. 

The increase in the water supply in Utah since its settlement by Mormon pioneers 
in 1847 has been not less than 75 per cent., and might be honestly put at 100 per cent. 

* These have been presented in tabular form above. 


Whatever changes may have taken place in the grasses in Utah are artificial. The 
native mountain "bunch grass" has become so well known for its remarkably nutri- 
tious character that rather than change it the desire of the people of Utah, or those 
owning stock, would be to propagate it. 

Where irrigation has been applied for a few years there has been a perceptible de- 
crease in the amount of water necessary to properly irrigate the land. The decrease 
is placed at about 25 per cent. The census returns give the most available informa- 
tion as to the extent of irrigable lands. 

The value of such land depends entirely on its location, not only in a territory but in 
a precinct or county, and upon the character of the soil, which often differs materially 
from land adjoining it and enjoying the same water advantages. In earlier days all 
persons interested in the digging of a canal would turn out and keep on working under 
the direction of a person chosen by themselves. Later laws were passed on the sub- 
ject, and will be fouud by reference to the statutes of the Territory, which will give 
the fullest attainable information as to water rights and conditions in the Territory. 

Grants, of course, are given to municipal and canal corporations, counties, and dis- 
tricts, but these also are set forth in the statutes. 

The most important undertaking of the class under consideration yet accomplished 
in the Territory was the construction of a canal to supply Salt Lake City with water. 
The citv was bonded for the purpose, and the canal was commenced in December of 
1879 and finished in the fall of 1881. 

Its length is something over 20 miles, and its source is the Jordan River, a short 
distance below the point where Utah Lake has its outlet into the Jordan. The canal 
is 20 feet wide at the bottom, the depth being G feet, sufficient to carry 4 feet of water. 

The city was authorized to borrow $250,000 on its bonds for the construction of the 
canal. The expenditures in detail Avere : For excavation, $130,832.77 ; for dams, flumes, 
bridges, and culverts, $39,636.17 ; for lumber for flumes in the city — the distance be- 
ing 1J- miles of redwood flumes — $24,844.56 ; for right of way, $39,253.97.; for recording 
deeds, &c, $456.25; for engineering, $10,282.80; for incidental expenses, $2,446.13; and 
for puddling, &c, $6,757.65. In cities the municipal corporations control the waters, 
water-masters being appointed to regulate the division of the water. 

Iu seasons when there is a scarcity of water after the irrigating period has com- 
menced nearly every drop of water is consumed, and irrigating goes on night and 
day, according to the hours in which the streams are allotted to different persons. 
The waste referred to above is scarcely known during the irrigating season ; it is 
during the winter, before and after the season for watering. It will be proper to state 
here in explanation of a foregoing statement, that some of the higher valleys to be 
made desirable for agricultural purposes must resort to. artificial means, such as 
artesian wells, as the streams flowing into them are insufficient to meet wants that 
will arise, while their altitude is such that other streams cannot be forced into them. 

(For regulation of water rights, see Utah statutes of 1880, page 36 ; for acts relating 
to Salt Lake City Canal, see same, page 55 and page 85 ; for law relating to irrigating 
companies, see Utah statutes of 1884, page 127.) 

The records taken at Fort Douglas, a short distance outside Salt Lake 
City, for twenty years, show a mean temperature of 52 degrees and an 
average precipitation of 17.68 inches. The first half of the period, that 
is, from 1863 to 1872, the mean is placed at 18.81 ; while from 1873 to 
1882, inclusive, it is stated at over 16.65. It is noticeable throughout the 
entire mountain area that wherever the records have been kept long 
enough (at some army posts this has been the case) for comparison 
the latest years will show a marked diminution of the precipitation, 
while equally as marked is the increased humidity of the soil where 
settlement has, by irrigation, been enabled to cultivate the same. The 
decrease in atmospheric humidity is believed to proceed from the de- 
struction of the timber on the sides of the ranges, and from the elevated 
foot-hills, valleys, and canons thereof. The observed increase in terrene 
humidity is a factor of great importance. 

Turning southward, Arizona is found to be making considerable pro- 
gress. The southern, or Gila Valley portion of the Territory, and its 
smaller central valleys, offer a considerable area for the farmer when 
irrigation is applied. The difficulties of the problem are found not only 
in the newness of the region, as to settlement, but in the want of sys- 
tem and the confusion of ideas as to the lawful use and control of water. 


The Mormon system would probably bring about in both Arizona and 
New Mexico the same admirable results that it lias secured in Utah. 
It is estimated that there are in the Territory about 2,800,000 acres of 
land of the best quality, with surface water sufficient to irrigate the 
same by a reasonable expenditure on ditches. Of the above area not 
quite 300,000 acres are in cultivation. There are at least 10,000,000 
acres of rich land that could be reclaimed by means of artesian and 
other wells, if they can be obtained. 

For convenience of arrangement in considering' its agricultural capa- 
bilities, Arizona may be divided into: (1) The Colorado Valley ; (2) the 
valley of the Gila and those of its tributaries, including the Salt River 
as far north as the thirty-fifth parallel; (3) the Santa Cruz Valley, the 
isolated locations of Pinal and Pima Counties, and the vicinity of the 
New Mexico line 5 (4) the Colorado Chiquito Valley ; (5) the southwest- 
ern portion of Yavapai County, surrounding Prescott, and the valley of 
the Eio Verde, with its tributaries. 

In one of Lieutenant Wheeler's reports of exploration in Arizona, 
California, and Nevada, a comparison is made between the capabilities 
of certain portions of the Territory and those States, which brings to 
light some important facts. The Arizona portion compared is bounded 
in longitude by the meridians of 111 degrees and 113 degrees 45 min- 
utes, and in latitude by the parallels of 34 degrees and 35 degrees 40 
minutes, which include the southwestern portion of Yavapai County 
and a small strip of Mohave County, by no means the best agricultural 
region of the Territory, and scarcely up to the average. This is com- 
pared with the eastern portion of Southern California, and the southern 
portion of Nevada, in the same latitude : 




Agricultural, irrigable, and arable land 




Per cent. 

Per cent. 

In the Colorado Valley the soil is rich in the chemical combinations 
requisite for fertility, and only in small patches contains too large a 
proportion of clay. In some places it has also small amounts of chloride 
of sodium and sulphate of lime. The fertilizing reddish mud resembles 
that of the Eio Grande and of the Nile, and its quantity varies from 
0.1 to 0.5 per cent. (1-1000 to 1-200) of the water, which is good to drink 
even when considerably colored by the mild. As compared with the 
above-named rivers, it contains less potassa, more phosphoric acid, and 
much more carbonate of lime, the presence of the latter valuable ingre- 
dient being due to the immense limestone beds through which the river 
flows in the upper part of its course. 



The following table (mud from the Colorado having been collected) 
exhibits a comparative analysis of the mud of these rivers : 


Eio Grande. 


Hygroscopic water 

Chemically bound water, soluble in hydrochloric acid. 


Soda, with trace of lithia 


Carbonate of lime 


Oxide of iron 


Phosphoric acid 

Sulphuric acid 

Oxide of manganese 

Insoluble in hydrochloric acid 


0. 103 







3. 122 

0. 166 



As to the extent to which the Colorado Elver could be rendered 
available for irrigation, it has been appropriately remarked by geologists 
that the country bordering on the Colorado is the most conspicuous 
example in the world of over-drainage ; for nowhere else. do we find a 
stream that for hundreds of miles cuts its way 500 to 000 feet deep 
through solid rock. The Colorado, supplied by streams from the mount- 
ains, where rain and snow are abundant, cuts its way through a rain- 
less and therefore desert region, in which the only changes are those 
resulting from the direct action of the atmosphere, so that no appre- 
ciable debris of any kind is furnished to fill up the excavations continued 
through millions of years, and only limited by an approximation of the 
level of the river bed to that of the waters of the Gulf of California. 
Lieutenant Wheeler estimates the area of land drained by the Colorado 
Eiverand its tributaries to aggregate 242,065 square miles, mostly still 
owned by the Government. 

The Salt River Valley is 25 miles in length by about 14 in width. 
With its estimated quarter of a million acres of rich, alluvial soil, ca- 
pable of producing 25 to 50 bushels of grain to the acre, it ought easily 
to support 50,000 inhabitants, if there were a sufficiency of irrigating 
ditches and artesian wells to fully utilize its natural capabilities. 

Near Phoenix an old canal, 8 miles in length by 20 feet in width, has 
been discovered, which has recently been cleared out and utilized. The 
remains of this and many others, together with numerous mounds 
whose surfaces are covered with fragments of pottery, prove that a 
race skilled in husbandry, irrigation, and manufactures many years ago 
appreciated the fertility of this valley, but left behind them no other 
records than their work. 

The valley of the Gila, though cultivated along most of its course, is not 
available for semi-tropical productions in its upper part on account of 
October frosts. The White Mountain Indian Reservation (San Carlos) 
interferes with a continuous white settlement above Florence, as the 
lands of the Pirn as and Maricopas do below it. These latter Indians 
have cultivated wheat, corn, pumpkins, melons, &c, for centuries, and 
have always been self-supporting, as well as the Papagoes, farther south, 
who, however, depend principally on stock. 

From Yuma eastward the valley is extremely fertile. 

At Oatixnm's Plat a large area is now being reclaimed. 

The Gila bottom merges imperceptibly into the foot-hills, and has an 
average breadth of from 5 to 10 miles. Its soil is principally alluvial, 


and will produce two crops yearly. Irrigation is easily effected. The 
river averages 000 feet in width, and is 3 to 5 feet in depth when there 
is no rainfall and no water from the mountains. Tbe banks along the 
whole of this tract are so low and sloping as to afford unusual facilities 
for the construction of ditches. Excellent crops of wheat, barley, and 
vegetables are grown. In the vicinity of Florence is an extensive tract 
of rich bottom and second- mesa or table-land, on which are now grown 
the cereals, alfalfa, the sugar cane, and vegetables and fruits generally, 
including orange and lemon trees. Fruit culture in the Gila Valley is 
extensive. Cottonwood, ash, and locust are abundant. Further up 
the valley the Pueblo Viejo has, with its tributary valley of Ash Creek 
and others, at least 100,000 acres of good farming land. 

On the uplands and farther up the valley itself, near the line of New 
Mexico, the daily variations in temperature are much less and the frosts 
begin later. Still further up its course, within the borders of New 
Mexico, the Gila River has upon its margins much good agricultural 
land. The bottom lands generally are quite rich in potassa and phos- 
phoric acid. 

The valley of the Francisco Eiver, a tributary of the Gila, near the 
line of New Mexico, is good for grazing and timber, and has in general 
a rich soil. The San Pedro River is a tributary of the Gila, its mouth 
being between Florence and San Carlos, and its source in the Huachuca 
Mountains, near the Mexican line. There is good land, good timber, 
and excellent range for stock. Considerable valley land is now under 
cultivation, and irrigation is generally required. 

The Santa Cruz Valley, though smaller in extent, is equally pro- 
ductive in proportion to its area. It is more compact, and all of it is 
adapted to semi-tropical fruits, as well as to the vegetables of the tem- 
perate zone. 

According to information received, about 250 miles of main canals 
have been completed during the past two years, or are under rapid con- 
struction. With the tributary feeders and laterals Southern and Cen- 
tral Arizona now has completed, or very nearly so at least, about 700 
miles of irrigation works. As this Territory has always been considered 
one of the most unpromising in the dry and mountain regions of this 
country, these facts are of a cheering character. The most astonishing 
reports are made of the fertility of the areas " under water." 

The physical configuration of Arizona shows it to be, as already 
stated, an over-drained region. This is in itself sufficient to account 
for the unquestioned aridity of a large portion of the Territory, but set- 
tlement and time are proving there, as well as elsewhere within our 
mountain area, that the supplies of water, with proper conservation and 
distribution, will be found more important and available than has gen- 
erally been considered at all probable. In the narrow and precipitous 
valleys of Central Arizona there are natural reservoirs, of which, with 
comparatively little outlay, valuable storage basins may be created and 
force obtained to raise the water high enough for reaching extensive 
portions of the mesa or table-lands adjoining the river valleys. Sev- 
eral of the minor streams are known to sink, and their recovery and use 
for industrial purposes will be found a task not difficult to engineering 

In the southeastern portion cf this Territory there are extensive grassy 
plains or broad intervals known as " cienegas," on account of the near- 
ness of water to the surface. The cattlemen have taken advantage of 
this fact. It would seem to argue the existence of subterranean wa- 


ters. There are two rainy seasons, in the winter and summer months, 
respectively. In the summer the rains are often violent and torrential 
in character, disappearing almost as suddenly as they come. In April 
and May there are often neighborhood showers, seeming to be limited 
in area, as if the currents in their passage from the Southern Pacific, 
coming through the Gulf of California, were broken by the higher peaks 
and whirled in circular eddies over the sections visited. They are known 
by the Mexicans and Indians as " shepherd rains." No artesian wells 
have yet been sunk, but at several points the Southern Pacific Rail- 
road has obtained water at comparatively moderate depths. The fol- 
lowing tabular statements, forwarded by the railroad administration, 
are a valuable presentation of the results of these endeavors: 






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The annual precipitation of Arizona, as reported from five stations of 
the United States Signal Service, over an average observation period 
of six years, ranges from 2.04 inches at Yuma, on the Colorado, at an 
altitude of 200 feet above the sea level, to 15.76 at Fort Grant, an alti- 
tude of about 2,500 feet. The mean average for the Territory during 
the six years ending June, 1883, will be only 9.34. The following table, 
compiled from the volume of 1881 (Schott's) in the Smithsonian "Con- 
tributions to Knowledge," and also from the Signal Service reports, for 
the dates given, will illustrate these deductions: 

No. 1. — Smithsonian reports. 


Period of observations. 






Camp Bowie 

Camp Grant 


lust, 1807, to December, 1874 

ternber, 18G6, to December, 1874 . 

ember, 1868, to December, 1874.. 
e, 1865, to October, 1874 

Yrs. M. 
6 8 
6 10 

8 2 

6 1 

7 5 

4 11 
3 11 

o / 
32 10 
32 54 
32 13 
34 34 
34 33 

32 13 

31 43 

32 52 

o / 
109 50 

109 51 

110 53 

111 34 

112 27 

110 53 

110 35 
109 51 



"2, 816' 

15. 26: 
15. 08 

Camp Verdo 

Fort Whipple- 

Camp Lowell 

(near Tucson). 
Camp Crittenden . 
Camp Goodwin*.. 




10. 85< 

T, 1867, to December, 1874 

il, 1868, to November, 1871 ...... 

nary, 1866, to May, 1870 

30. 41 

17. 89' 

* Near San Carlos. 
No. 2. — Beports from Signal Servi 

?e statio 



Period of observations. 



September, 1872, to January, 18 
November, 1874, to Januarv, 18 
October, 1877, to Jan nary, i883 
November, 1875, to January, 18£ 
November, 1873, to Januarv, 18fc 
June, 1881, to Januarv, 1883 








15. 76 



15. 37 


May 1877, to January. 1883 



December, 1878, to January, 1883 



November, 1878, to January, 18£ 



* About 50 miles from San Carlos and south on same range. 

Ex-Governor Tritle, of Arizona, has written to the Department as 
follows in relation to the progress of irrigation works : 

Very little land reclaimed by artesian process ; some little in Sulphur Spring Val- 
ley. It is very important that the attention of Congress should be invited to the 
value of development of water by artesian process in Arizona. Upon this point me- 
morials have been forwarded to Washington from the Territorial legislature, and I 
have treated the subject at considerable length in my annual reports to the Secretary 
of the Interior for the years 1883 and 1884. At least 500,000 acres may be reclaimed. 
The principal canals and ditches are in Salt River Valley, Gila Valley, valley of Little 
Colorado, Verd6 and Hassayampa Valleys, and the San Pedro Valley. Their extent 
and cost are not precisely known — probably 250 miles and $600,000, 

The following is a list of water companies in Maricopa, the leading 
agricultural county in this Territory: 

Post-office, Phoenix, Maricopa County : Arizona Canal Company, Grand Canal Com- 
pany, Maricopa Canal Company, Salt River Valley Canal Company, Farmers 7 Canal' 
Company, Griffin Canal Company, Dutch Canal Company, Montezuma Canal Com- 
pany, San Franciseo Canal Company. 

Post-oflice, Tempe, Maricopa County: Tempo Canal Company, Mesa City Canal 
Company, Utah Canal Company. 


The Gila Bend Canal Company, post office Gila Bend, Maricopa 
County, is now engaged in constructing a large canal at that point. 

Another enterprise is the Buckeye Canal Company, Phoenix, Mari- 
copa County. Mr. Patrick Hamilton, commissioner of immigration, has 
written from Prescott that — 

There is no law, local or Territorial, regulating the control and distribution of 
water from the streams of Arizona for irrigating or mining purposes. 

He adds the following memorandum : 

Pinal County : There are several canals in the valley of the Gila, near Florence, 
the largest being the Tiena Amerillo Canal Company. Cochise County : Only a 
limited area is cultivated in Cochise County. Apache County: There are several 
Mormon colonies established on the Little Colorado, Apache County. They irrigate 
successfully. Yuma County : A large water-way is being excavated at Texas Hill, 
in this county. Pima County : Irrigation in this county is mainly to the valley of 
the Santa Cruz, near Tucson. 

The northwestern part of the intramontane region or division em- 
braces the State of Nevada and the eastern half of the State of Ore- 
gon and of the Territory of Washington. The western line of these 
portions of Oregon and Washington will be the one hundred and 
twentieth degree, as far south as the northern line of California. 
The summit of the Sierras Nevada is the western limit of Nevada. 
Within this region, mainly mountain and plateau, or basin, the indig- 
enous grasses afford nutriment to large herds of cattle. Some irriga- 
tion enterprises are already under way; others are projected. The 
Columbia Eiver and its affluents make an extensive basin, wherein con- 
current testimony establishes the existence of an available water supply, 
large as to extent and volume. In illustration of this, there is a project 
now under way for utilizing the waters of the Snake Eiver, the largest 
affluent of the Columbia, and turning them by means of irrigation canals, 
&c, over the Snake Eiver plateau, a great area, embracing 12,000,000 
acres, now almost rainless. The project is a possibility, and indicates 
the attention that is being directed to these matters. There is reason 
to believe that a sufficient and available body of water exists in natural 
ways and channels combined with the average precipitation and the 
storage of the snowfall in the higher caiions and channels of the Sierras 
to provide for the reclamation of a considerable portion of eastern 
Oregon and Washington Territory, while the present rapid increase of 
pastoral use establishes the superior grazing value of the indicated 
region. The timber area, according to the Federal census of 1880, will 
not exceed 4 per cent, of the whole, but that may be fairly set down as 
an underestimate, owing mainly to the insufficient data upon which 
it is based. 

The opening of the Northern Pacific Eailroad, since 1880, has shown 
that this calculation falls short of the facts. A large increase of land 
occupation and population has already followed railroad construction. 

The State of Nevada presents the most forbidding aspect, so far as 
the water problem is concerned. The average precipitation will range- 
therein at about 12 inches per annum, falling a little below at points 
most exposed or distant from the hydrological system of the Columbia, 
and rising to about 22 inches where under its direct influence. Nearly 
the entire area of the State is within the basin region. Its average 
altitude is about 5,000 feet. 

The Carson and Humboldt Eivers form the only hydrological areas 
of any importance. The drainage basins of the Sierras afford valuable 
opportunities for water storage, natural and artificial, for Nevada as 
well as California. Lakes Tahoe and Pyramid are examples. The 



southern extremity of this portion is of an arid character. Yet there 
are some evidences of agricultural reclamation. In the Carson Valley 
there is some systematic effort at irrigation. The surveyor-general of 
the State reported in 1883 that within the counties named as the west- 
ern half of the State there were twelve mining ditches with a total 
length of 31 miles; in 18S4 the length, as shown by the report of the 
same officer for that year, had increased to 34 miles. 

The irrigation ditches in 1883 were 518 in number; in 1884 there were 
570; their length in 1883 was 1,040 miles, and in 1884 it was 1,091 
miles. The area under water in 1883 was 77,910 acres ; in 1884 it was 
81 ,910 acres. These figures do not cover the full consumption of water, 
industrially considered, within the area of this State. There are small, 
irrigation enterprises not fully reported, and in some localities wells 
and springs are utilized. Water for mining purposes is also brought 
by flumes and ditches, sometimes for long distances, and, for limited 
areas, incidentally serves agricultural uses. It is also shown, especially 
in Humboldt County, and elsewhere in the northern portion of the 
State, that water is obtained by wells sunk to moderate depths. The 
surveyor-general claimed that there are evidences seen of a climatic 
change in the direction of increased humidity. He says : 

Thunder showers are quite frequent in the early summer mouths, producing a 
freshness as eshiiirating as it is enjoyable. These showers of kite years have in- 
creased in frequency, and the rains of California seem to spill over the Sierras more 
oiten in winter than in the past. 

The last winter there was more rain than snow, and grasses this year, as a conse- 
quence, are more thrifty. 

And he adds : 

If this change of climate keeps on in the same ratio, it will not he long that irriga- 
tion will be absolutely necessary. 

Observations and records of an exact character have not been made 
for sufficient periods to lend more than an indicative authority to such 
statements. The following table is compiled from the Smithsonian 
records (Schott, 1881): 



Place of observa- 



covered by 

Dates of observations. 








Yrs. Ms. 







5 8 

November, 18G7, to December, 1S71. 

10. 98 

Camp McDermit. .. 





6 4 

Februarv, 188(5, to December, 1874 . 


Camp McG-arrv 






November, 1805, to October, 18G8... 

22. 46 

Camp Scotfc 





2 8 

January, 18G7, to April, 1870 

17. 33 

Fort Churchill 





3 9 1 January, 1802, to May, 18G9 


Fort Iluby 






January, 18G3, to October, 18G8 

15. 01 

Average for 

13. 74 

the State. 

Taking the two longest periods of observation, those at Halleck's and 
McDermit, one on the extreme northern line and the other 2 degrees 
further east and one further south, we have an average period of obser- 
vation of six years and one month, and an annual average precipitation 
of 9.75 inches. Camps Scott and McGarry, being only 2 degrees of 
longitude apart and practically in the same latitude, show during a 
briefer period, yet covered also by the longer range given for the other 
posts, a much heavier precipitation. The average of period is two 
years and four months, and the annual precipitation ranges from 22.40 


down to 17.33, or an average, of 19.9. At Fort Euby, 1 degree further 
south and 2 degrees further east, the annual rainfall for two years is 
stated at 15.61. It is probable that this comparatively (for that region) 
large rainfall is due to some marked topographical features, which 
bring to bear the influences of the Columbia Valley system and perhaps 
of the " Chinook" or warm winds that blow from the a Kuro-Siwo," or 
Japanese current, and most favorably affect the climate and humidity 
of some portions of our intra-mouutain region. The natural meadows 
of Nevada are largely found in the region indicated, and that fact also 
tends to indicate reasons for the greater precipitation shown by the 
•Smithsonian tables. 

The records of the Smithsonian and of the United States Signal Ser- 
vice observers, as well as observations taken by railroad employes and 
at the military posts of the United States, irregular though they are, 
run back for an average of twelve years. They indicate the annual 
precipitation of Nevada to be, in the northern portion, about 12 inches; 
in the central, along the line of the railroad and below, not over 9, 
under favorable circumstances ; and in the southern it will run down to 
6 or 7 inches per annum. Nevada is therefore to be regarded as the 
most unpromising portion on the w r hole of our dry area. Yet there is 
evidence that even there water can be conserved and made largely to 
aid the work of land reclamation. As a grazing State Nevada is 
steadily coming into prominence. The mildness of its winters, compara- 
tively, speaking, invites occupation for cattle and sheep. It has usually 
been found that pastoral occupation is accompanied, after a short pe- 
riod, by a marked increase in agricultural utilization. 

That portion of New Mexico which lies west of the one hundred and 
fifth meridian embraces two-thirds of the Territory, and also its most 
important agricultural region. The principal centers of irrigation en- 
terprise are in the Eio Grande and Mimbres Valleys. The former bi- 
sects the Territory almost from north to south. Irrigation therein and 
in the smaller valleys has been practiced by the Indian town-dwellers 
from a period long ante-dating the Spanish occupation in the middle of 
the sixteenth century. Water has been conveyed on the same land for 
centuries by ditch and by hand, and the soil remains as fertile as when 
first turned by the hand of man. 

No entire or quite reliable statistics are available as to the extent 
and importance of the irrigation works within the Territory, but, as the 
population in 1880 numbered 119,565 souls, and at the present writing 
is estimated to be at least 140,000, raising within the Territory a con- 
siderable proportion of the breadstuff's they use, besides fruit, cattle, 
sheep, &c, it follows that the means of water distribution must be quite 
extensive. The number of farms is not less than 5,500 ; the yield is 
large, and the products of a varied character. The entire length of the 
irrigation canals aud ditches will probably equal that of Utah. The 
Indian and Mexican laws and customs as to community uses of water 
still continue. They were preserved to those inhabitants by treaty 
when Mexico ceded to the United States a large portion of its northern 
territory. The average annual precipitation ranges from 12 to 16 inches, 
according to the altitude and locality. 

Within that part of Colorado which lies west of the one hundred and 
fifth meridian may be found a large proportion of the irrigated districts, 
but the southern portion of the State contains the oldest farming sec- 
tion. A portion of it was formally under Mexican rule, and has the 
same agricultural and grazing characteristics as other portions of the 
Bio (Grande Valley region. The water system of the State is considere4 


to be the best yet devised in its supervision of outflow and distribution, 
and its method of settling and adjudicating disputes. 

The possession of water under law can be obtained by companies or 
by neighborhood organizations for the purpose of distributing the same 
at certain rates, which are to be judicially decided upon if disputed by 
the users and purchasers. The ownership of distributing and con- 
struction works is in the hands generally of large and wealthy joint 
stock associations. The older water companies were formed by and 
from the agricultural colonies, which began, over twenty-four years 
since, the work of systematic land reclamation. The later construc- 
tions, those now operative and those in progress, are usually owned" by 
great land companies. These works are planned on a large scale. 
The results are surprising, and will be more so in the near future, as a 
larger area is placed under water. The State is now divided into 
twenty-six water districts, in each of which a water commissioner has 
been appointed, to whom all questions of distribution are referred, with 
the right of appeal to the State district courts. A State engineer's 
office has also been created, to which all the engineering and other 
technical supervision belongs. 

Such a thing as a drought is not dreaded by the agriculturist of Col- 
orado. The cultivation of the soil is subject to a condition different 
from those which prevail in the East. Irrigation, although a necessity, 
bears with it some of the greatest blessings. There can be no irrigation 
except where water can be drawn from streams, and the area of arable 
land is small compared with the total area of the State. There are two 
river systems to the east of the mountains, that of the Platte, with its 
north and south forks, and that of the Arkansas. In the southern part of 
the State is the Eio Grande. On the western slope there are the Gunnison 
and the Grand, with their tributaries ; the White River and the Yampa 
in the northwest, and the Eio Dolores, the San Miguel, and tributaries 
of the San Juan in the southwest. Only a small part of the land upon 
the plains can be supplied with water from the South Platte and the 
Arkansas. Farrnng is confined to the valleys of the streams, while 
the intermediate country between the rivers is suitable only for grazing, 
owing to lack of water. 

Prior to 1870 farming was confined to the immediate and narrow 
valleys of the streams. In that year the Union Colony was formed, and 
settled in the valley of the Cache la Poudre. From that settlement the 
town of Greeley has grown, becoming the center of one of the best ag- 
ricultural districts in the State. The colonists constructed a large ditch, 
by which the water taken from the Cache la Poudre was conveyed to 
the upland country. Prom 1870 to 1874 many colonies were formed, 
and an irrigating ditch was constructed by each settlement. Within 
the last four years large corporations have constructed irrigating canals, 
relying for their remuneration on the receipts from the sale of water. 

Immense canals have utilized a large portion of the water in the 
northern part of the State, and brought under cultivation tracts of 
land which were barren. Little has yet been accomplished in the val- 
ley of the Arkansas, although corporations have been formed for the 
construction of canals in the valley between Pueblo and the Kansas 
Eiver. In the great San Luis Valley or Park there are canals aggre- 
gating about 150 miles in length, and capable of irrigating about 175,- 
000 acres of land. The Grand Valley, in Mesa County, at the junction 
of the Grand and Gunnison Rivers, in the western part of the State, is 
one of the most fertile agricultural regions in the West. It has several 


irrigating canals, the largest one being that named the Grand Valley 
Ditch. Its waters serve 65,000 acres of land. 

In Montrose and Delta Counties there is the Uncompahgre Valley, 
watered by a ditch covering 75,000 acres of land, supplied from the 
Uncompahgre Eiver. The aggregate length of the irrigating canals in 
this State is estimated to be between 900 and 1,000 miles, and the land 
susceptible of being irrigated 1,700,000 acres. This does not express 
the limit of the arable land in the State, for that has not been reached. 
Mr. Nettleton, the State engineer, has ascertained by actual measure- 
ment, that the water supply of the Cache la Poudre is used over again ; 
that is, the larger part of the water used for irrigating the land finds its 
way back to the stream in the form of springs and rivulets. A large 
quantity of water can be saved in reservoirs, and State Engineer Net- 
tleton believes that the most suitable place for the construction of small 
reservoirs is in the foot-hills. Large ones capable of storing vast quan- 
tities of water could be constructed high up in the mountains, but would 
have to await the action of the Government, as the undertaking would 
be too vast for private enterprise. 

Mr. Nettleton concludes that upon an average in Colorado a cubic 
foot of water per second will irrigate about 55 acres. In California 
and New Mexico the check system is used in applying water. The land 
is divided by ridges into squares, and the water allowed to run on a 
given square until it is covered, then a little channel is cut through the 
ridge to the adjoining square. This system requires extra labor, but is 

The cost of water in Colorado is now from $1.50 to $3 per acre per 

The soil of Colorado is exceedingly fertile, and the product very large. 
Wheat sometimes yields 40 or 50 bushels per acrt?, and is of an excep- 
tionally fine quality. The average crop of potatoes is 150 bushels per 
acre. Vegetables grow to an enormous size, and are of a superior 
quality. Fruit raising has not developed as rapidly as the culture of 
crops, but what promises to be the paradise of that industry is the 
Grand Valley, in Western Colorado. 

One of the most profitable crops which can be grown is alfalfa, three 
or four crops of which can be cut each season from the same ground, 
the aggregate yield being from 4 to tons per acre. 

Prior to 18G0 the practice of irrigation in Colorado was confined to a 
few scattered Mexican settlements in the southern part of the Territory, 
with an imitation, but little improved, by the few American settlers in 
other parts of the Territory on the bottom lands lying immediately 
alongside the streams. The ditches were small and short, each ditch 
being constructed by the water user to suit his own requirements. The 
irrigation was consequently confined to small patches of ground scat- 
tered along the sides of the streams as the valleys would permit. The 
agricultural settlements were in the valleys. The uplands, locally 
known as "mesa," or table-lands, were not at that time thought to be 
capable of production, even if water were put upon them, and were 
considered fit only for grazing of cattle and sheep. The land taken up 
by the only American agricultural settlers was " first bottom," and a 
farm of 160 acres of cultivated land was thought to be immense. Grad- 
ual improvements were made during the next ten years, but were con- 
fined to bottom lands, irrigated by individual ditches. 

Mr. Greeley, in his tour through Colorado in 1859, was impressed 
with the belief that the higher lands were best adapted for cultivation, 
jf they could be irrigated, and on his, return to New York hatl many 


conversations oil the subject with Mr. Meeker, then agricultural editor 
of the Tribune. These conferences resulted in the formation of a 
colony which in 1870 settled in the valley of the Cache la Poudre, and 
the name of Greeley was given to the new settlement. In that year 
work was begun on the first canal for the conveyance of water to the 
table-lands then constituting the so-called " Great American Desert." 
The success achieved was due to the combined efforts of a community. 
Large blocks of land were brought into cultivation, and the example 
thus set led to tbe adoption of the present system of large canals, laid 
out by professional engineers to cover the highlands, which needed only 
water under the contiol of the irrigator to produce great crops. 

Since that period the construction of irrigating canals has progressed 
under the protection of the law r s of, the Territory and State, until in 
some districts the appropriation of water has reached the limit of sup- 
ply. From 1878 to the present time corporations and associations of 
individuals have undertaken the building of canals, each watering thou- 
sands of acres. They have brought into the State large amounts 
of capital and have revolutionized the modes of settlement. These 
canal schemes are analagous to the development of the present rail- 
road system. Eoads were formerly built to accommodate settlements 
already in existence ; now they are built into the wilderness, inviting 
immigration and offering facilities that will in the future reimburse 
them. The irrigating schemes of Colorado are on the same plan. Sur- 
veys are made of lands available for irrigation and a plan conceived as 
an entirety. The work is done at a minimum of cost, and. when the land 
is ready for cultivation settlers are invited. No trustworthy data can 
be given of the area of irrigated land in Colorado. An estimate based 
on the returns of the county assessors of the area of farm lands in the 
State gives, in 1883, %265,21S acres, and in 1884,3,834,619 acres; assum- 
ing that three-tenths of this is irrigated land, the area of this land would 
be 979,565 acres in 1883 and 1,150,386 acres in 1884. The average yield 
of crops in 1885, where agriculture is exclusively carried on by irriga- 
tion, is estimated as follows: Wheat, per acre, 27 bushels; barley, 33; 
oats, 55 ; poatoes, 150 to 200 ; onions, 250. 

The elevation of the farming lands of the State ranges from 3,500 feet, 
in the extreme eastern portion, to 7,500 feet in the upper valleys of the 
Eio Grande. The bulk of the land at present cultivated lies near the 
foot-hills on the eastern slope of the main divide, at an average altitude 
of about 5,000 feet. On the eastern slope of the mountains, and compris- 
ing about one-half of the total area of the State, lies the region known 
as the u plains/ 7 or, as once called, the " Great American Desert." It 
was only desert while destitute of water, the soil being generally pro- 
ductive when irrigated. The amouut of land capable of cultivation is 
only limited by the water supply which can be brought onto it from the 
mountain streams which, flowing eastwardly, combine and form the 
South Platte and Arkansas Eivers. The South Platte passes out of the 
State at its southeast corner and the Arkansas at latitude 38° north. 
After leaving the mountains these streams receive numerous tributaries 
on both banks, but these are all of one character, deep floods after heavy 
rainfalls, quickly subsiding to muddy streams during the wet season, 
and drying up entirely for three-fourths of the year. No irrigation is 
possible from the waters of these creeks unless artificial reservoirs are 
constructed to impound the flood waters. All the supply for direct irri- 
gation from the main rivers must be derived from the mountain tribu- 
taries, which last longest and give the most reliable supply only wheia 
they head on the high ranges of perpetual snow. 



The divide between the Arkansas and South Platte Rivers is known 
in the State as the Colorado Divide, and the 'summit between the two 
valleys is from 1,000 to 2,000 feet higher than the rivers, the distance 
between them varying from 120 to 210 miles. All the water available 
for irrigation, even if the flood waters were all impounded, is only suffi- 
cient to cultivate a fraction of this area, and the great bulk oi' culti- 
vation will be concentrated on the most available lands nearest the 
foot-hills extending eastwardly along the streams as far as the water 
supply will extend. 

In the valley of the Rio Grande the irrigated lands lie in and around 
the San Luis Park, and in the narrow tributary valleys, more especially 
the Saguache, and the upper valley of the main river. On the western 
slope the situation is the reverse of that on the eastern slope, there being 
an excess of water and but little irrigable land. Of course there are 
local exceptions on both slopes. The amount of irrigable land in Colo- 
rado is limited by the supply of water, and this supply can only be 
determined by a complete system of gauging of all streams, and esti- 
mating the extent and storage capacity of reservoirs for impounding 
the surplus Hood and winter waters of all streams available for irriga- 
tion. It is generally conceded that the rainfall and humidity of the 
States west of and contiguous to the Mississippi has increased with the 
settlement and operations of husbandry, but all attempts have failed 
to show, by record, that a similar increase has occurred with the settle- 
ment of the States and Territories of the Rocky Mountain region. The 
experienced farmers of Colorado are not looking for an increase in the 
rainfall. They are expecting, however, through irrigation, a marked 
and steady increase of terrene humidity, bv reason of the saturation of 
the earth and the cultivation of the soil. That there is reason for their 
disbelief in the increase of rainfall, will be seen by the following tables, 
prepared at Colorado Springs, the first of which gives the rainfall of 
June and July for twelve years, from 1872 to 1883, inclusive: 








1. 21 




1. 38 


1879 •-.. 

0. 64 





1 881 








The second statement gives the total rainfall for eleven years, or from 

1872 to 1882, inclusive : 








15. 51 




1874 „ 

] 880 - 



1881 • 


1876 . 






The extent of the irrigation works in Colorado may be seen by a 
glance at the following table, summarized from the report for 1884 ot 
State Engineer Nettleton : 

Water districts, canals, ditches, reservoirs, cj-c. 

Water districts. 



o . 


Total number of cubic 
feet per second appro- 
priated for priorities 
in cacb district. 

03 O 

o ^ 






No. 1 

• 62 

5, 404. 78 

3, 642. 70 

4, 558. 38 
2, 397. 45 
2, 036. 41 
4, 689. 05 
1, 180. 45 

437. 55 
779. 99 
932. 95 

No. 2 .. 


No. 4 - 



No 5 

299, 492, 460 

47 enlargements to 25 ditches in all. 
22 enlargements to 18 ditches in all. 
30 enlargements to 20 ditches in all. 

No. 7 - 

No 8 

No 10 

No Jl 

No 12 

No 13 

No. 14 

5 enlargements to 5 ditches in all. 

No 15 

Delta County, No. 16. 

974. 00 

No. 4, 1 enlargement ; No. 7, 1 enlargement ; No. 8, 1 enlargement ; No. 9, 3 enlargements to 3 reservoirs. 

Passing from this detail of irrigation work and the results thereof, 
attention should be drawn to the fact that the discoveries so far made 
of belts of artesian water have been wholly along the flanks of the 
Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountains. On the west flank of the first- 
named dorsal range and among the foot-hills of California; on the other 
and physically related eastern side of the eastern and continental range 
— the Pocky Mountains — as at Laramie, Wyoming, and Denver, Colo. ; 
in the southern portion of the Staked Plains of Northwestern Texas, 
and along the western division of the Texas Pacific Eailroad, artesian 
wells are being successfully sunk and utilized. The significance of this 
suggestion as to artesian water belts, and their topographical relation 
to the mountain ranges, and the possibilities of a system of conserva- 
tion and distribution of water for industrial purposes, can easily be seen 
by reference to any topographical map of the West. 

The discovery of an extensive belt of artesian water in the foot-hills 
region is likely to have an important influence on the problems that 
are being considered. The heavy snow precipitation, chiefly seen on 
the eastern flanks and the summits of the great ranges — which fact 
must be due to the influence of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic 
Ocean, whence the winds bear moisture over the interior of this conti- 
nent—will sufficiently account for the subterranean water supply devel- 
oped at Denver, and partially found elsewhere, as at Laramie Plains, 
Wyoming, and along the southern edge of the Staked Plains of North- 
west Texas. The questions to be solved in Eastern and Central Colorado 
and Wyoming, so far as the water supply is concerned, will be found to 
be of great future importance for the plains division, already referred 
to as lying between the ninety-eighth and one hundred and fifth meri- 
dians of west longitude. 



Passing then to this division, the first one in order of statement, the 
last in that of description, the observer is met with another aspect of 
the problems under review. From the foot-hills of the Kocky Mountains, 
the plains, generally treeless, of Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, and Dakota, 
roll eastward and downward, like a great grassy sea, to the valley of the 
Missouri and the hydrological basin of the Mississippi. 

It has already been suggested that within the Eocky Mountain region 
the imperfect meteorological records indicate, during such period of 
contemporaneous observation as they cover, a diminution rather than 
an increase of atmospheric humidity and precipitation. This is not 
stated as a fact to be decisively accepted, but as indicative evidence 
only. It seems to be accompanied also by other evidence to the effect 
that such diminution runs co-terminally with forest destruction. On 
the other hand is the striking statement, so suggestive of economic pos- 
sibilities and utilities, that where settlement and cultivation have pro- 
gressed to any marked degree, and especially where the latter has been 
aided by irrigation, there has been a decided iucrease of terrene hu- 
midity. Springs have increased in volume. The running waters are 
more regular in their flow and quantity. The increase in some places 
is a very noticeable phenomenon, as that of Salt Lake, for instance. 
With all these and other details, it is shown in California, Utah, and 
Colorado that wherever irrigation has been longest applied the neces- 
sity for the use of water by its means has diminished, owing to seepage 
from the ditches, and that capillary attraction which has heretofore been 
referred to. Under cultivation, then, the soil everywhere shows an in- 
crease in humidity. But this is offset by the destruction of the forests, 
which is a marked feature of settlement within all the intra-montane 
and Pacific coast divisions. On the other hand, the destruction of the 
native grasses and the substitution of other and cultivated varieties, 
have a marked effect favorable to the increase of terreue humidity. 
The eastern, or plains, division shows, however, a phenomenon of 
another character, and that is the movement westward, with the move- 
ment of population, of an increased rainfall. This precipitation is 
likened by the State engineer of Colorado to a wall pressed westward. 
At Fort Leavenworth, Kans., on the Missouri Eiver, for example, the 
record of continuous observation covers a period long enough to admit 
of reliable deductions. 

Prof. F. H. Snow, of the State University, Lawrence, Kans., who is 
properly regarded as an authority on meteorology, in a paper read be- 
fore a scientific association, in 1884, after referring generally to the 
scientific hypothesis that this planet, as well as other worlds, is slowly 
passing through a series of changes which must ultimately bring it to 
the rainless condition of the moon, proceeds as follows : 

Although the general movement is in the direction of a reduction of the rainfall, there 
are, without douht, local oscillations in consequence of man's influence upon nature, 
which in some cases result in a more rapid decrease than would otherwise be accom- 
plished by the unaided forces of nature, and in other cases within limited areas secure an 
actual increase in therainlall. I believethe Stateof Kansas has furnished an apt illus- 
tration of a change of the latter sort. The circumstances have been extremely favora- 
ble to such a change. Thirty years ago the Territory of Kansas was not occupied by the 
white man, and, if we except a few acres cultivated by the Delaware Indians, no por- 
tion of her soil had been turned up by the plow. Her entire area was included 
within the vast and almost unknown region of the " Treeless Plains" and the " Great 
American Desert." During that brief intervening period, more than one million peo- 
ple, chiefly of the agricultural class, have taken possession of her domain, and have 
already brought her to the very front rank of the States of the Union in the extent 
$nd value of her agricultural products. 


History affords no other instance of the permanent occupation of so extensive an 
area previously unoccupied by man by so large an agricultural population in so short 
a space of time. Here certainly, if human agency could anywhere affect climate, 
would such an effect he produced. Here assuredly, if settlement ever increases rain- 
fall, will such increase he most marked and most unmistakable. That such increase 
has act ually taken place I believe to be established beyond a doubt. It is a circum- 
stance peculiarly favorable to the determination of the point in question that although 
i In general settlement of Kansas by cultivators of the soil is of such recent date, re- 
liable observations upon the rainfall had been made at the military posts upon the 
eastern borders for a sufficient period to make possible a satisfactory comparison be- 
t ween the rainfall before settlement and after settlement. The records at Fort Leav- 
en worth cover the longest period, and enable us to compare the nineteen years imme- 
diately preceding the occupation of Kansas by white settlers with the nineteen years 
immediately following such occupation. 

During the first period the average rainfall was 30.96 inches ; during the second pe- 
riod it was 36.2J inches, giving an average increase of 5.21 inches per annum. Here 
we have an increase of nearly 25 per cent, in the rainfall, under such conditions as to 
necessitate the inference that such increase is chiefly, if not entirely, produced by 
causes connected -with the introduction upon a large scale of an agricultural popula- 
tion into a previously uncultivated territory. The Fort Leavenworth records cover 
so long a period of time (nearly forty years) that the increased average of the second 
half of the period cannot be attributed to a mere " accidental variation." In the issue 
of Science for April 18, 1884, it is stated that " the supposed increase in the rainfall 
in the dry region beyond the Mississippi is not borne out by the returns of the Sig- 
nal Service.' 7 But the records of the Signal Service, upon which this statement was 
based, include a period of only twelve years of observation, from 1871 to 1882, which 
is undoubtedly too short a period for either establishing or disproving the fact of a 
"secular" variation. 

We have also called attention to the fact that causes which have a tendency to se- 
cure an increased rainfall have here been put into operation upon a grander scale than 
in any other portion of the dry region west of the Mississippi. But the fact of an in- 
creased Kansas rainfall does not rest entirely upon the Fort Leavenworth observations. 
There are other stations in Kansas whose records cover a much longer period than 
that of the longest established regular station of the Signal Service. There are the 
thirty years' records of the United States military post at Fort Riley, the twenty- 
four years' records of the State Agricultural College at Manhattan, and the seventeen 
years' record of the State University at Lawrence. If these several periods of obser- 
vation be divided into two equal parts, in each case it is found that the average rain- 
fall of the second half is notably greater than that of the first half. At Fort Riley 
the increase amounts to 3.05 inches per annum, and at Manhattan to 5.61 inches per 
annum, and at Lawrence to 3.06 inches. Expressed in per cent., the rainfall of these 
three stations has increased in the second half of each period of observation — at Fort 
Riley, 13 per cent. ; at Manhattan, 20 per cent., and at Lawrence over 9 per cent. If 
the increased rainfall could be shown by the records of a single station only, or if the 
several stations, with sufficiently long periods of observation, exhibited discordant 
results, some indicating a decrease, while others indicated an increase ; or, if even a 
single station indicated a diminished rainfall, the fact of a general increase would 
lack satisfactory demonstration. But the entire agreement of the four stations whose 
records have been used in a discussion of this question, seems to establish beyond 
doubt the fact of an increased rainfall in the eastern half of Kansas. There can be 
no reasonable doubt that the general settlement of the western portion of Kansas 
Avill have a similar effect upou its rainfall, but it is not reasonable to expect that- 
Western Kansas will ever boast of a rainfall equal to that of Eastern Kansas. So 
long as the eastern half of the State remains to the east of the meridian forming the 
western boundary of the Gulf of Mexico, the south winds will cause it to receive 
much larger supplies of vapor for condensation into rain than will be received by the 
western half of the State, which lies beyond the immediate track of the vapor-laden 
winds. It must be remembered that climatic changes are exceedingly gradual, and 
a rain deficiency or excess for a single year, or for two or three years in succession, 
must not be considered as invalidating the law of general averages. 

When settlement began on the line mentioned by Professor Snow, and 
west thereof, the average annual precipitation did not exceed 14 inches. 
It now ranges as high as 18 inches in the eastern portion of that section. 
This amount is, of course, far short of the full needs of industrial life; 
yet the column of settlement is moving west in both Kansas and Ne- 
braska in a slow but almost solid wall. In Dakota this westward move- 
ment is now more rapid, but has not continued long enough for reliable 
deduction. In illustration of the views of Professor Snow and others, 


whose evidence will be given, the following facts are of importance: 
Within the western or "dry" half of Kansas no white population was 
in 1860 recorded by the Federal census enumerators. In 1870 the total 
population in the same region was given by the ninth Federal census 
as 5,169. In 1880 the tenth census records it at 165,000. In the State 
Agricultural Eeport (biennial) for 1884 returns from thirty organized 
counties west of the ninety-eighth meridian are given. The unorgan- 
ized ones are also growing steadily, and in the case of the southwest 
counties, where irrigation has been adopted, the increase is very rapid. 
The totals are : 

Population 191,220 

Acres under fence , > 2, 840, 979 

Acres under cultivation (grain aud tame grasses) 2, 233, 723 

Number of cattle, sheep, &c „„ . 1, 239, 662 

Pounds of wool clipped (1883) 1,726,443 

Number of orchard trees 2, 823, 782 

Number acres in small fruit 1, 660 

Number of acres in forest trees (planted) 29, 367 

Value of all marked meats, wool, and dairy products ; also, poultry, eggs, 

&c .' $5,338,825 

The State valuation was put in 1885 at $550,000,000. The valuation 
in 1860 was $31,000,000; in 1865. $72,000,000; in 1870, $188,000,000; in 
1875, $242,000,000, and in 1880,' $321,000,000. Finney and Hamilton 
are the extreme southwestern counties of Kansas, lying in the valley of 
the Arkansas Eiver. The river flows nearly through their center from 
west to east, with an average fall of about 7 feet to the mile. The val- 
ley varies from 1 to 5 miles in width, and is almost as level as a floor. 
On the north an irregular line of bluffs separates the bottom from the 
uplands, while the southern edge of the valley is marked by a succes- 
sion of grass-covered sand-hills. 

Beyond these is an extensive rolling table-land, not unlike the one 
north of the river. The general surface inclination is south and east. 
The average elevation of this portion of Kansas is about 3,200 feet above 
the sea. The atmosphere is clear and dry. The climate is mild and 
equable throughout the year, and very rarely do cattle and sheep on the 
open range need shelter from the w r eather. The soil is a sandy loam, 
varying from 2 to 4 feet, with a subsoil of light porous clay on the up- 
lands and of tough impervious clay on the bottoms, the larger porti on 
resting on a limestone foundation. It is rich in organic matter and has 
a rare capacity for storing moisture. 

In March, 1882, not a section of railroad land in Finney County was 
sold. Six months later 50,000 acres had been disposed of to actual set- 
tlers. The soil was richer and deeper, if possible, than that of Eastern 
or Central Kansas, but the light rainfall had been a drawback to gen- 
eral farming. Throughout the western belt of counties in this State 
the rainfall is insufficient to justify agriculture. Irrigation, it had long 
been predicted, would redeem the country, and as the first experiment 
was a success, it has been continued through four years of extended work 
and profit. It is doubtful whether there are any localities where the 
contour of the surface is so favorable for a system of ditches as in the 
Upper Arkansas Valley. The river is a broad and shallow stream, flow- 
ing between low alluvial banks, which, with its descent of 7 feet to the 
mile, renders it easy to carry the ditches upon the uplands. Where the 
agricultural value of the soil depends on irrigation, the stream flows 
within a narrower channel, making the fall greater, and during the 
months when crops are dependent on irrigation the snows in the mount- 
ains keep the channel filled with an abundant stream. For laud so low 


as that in the Arkansas Valley, the mode of irrigation known as the 
bed- work system is in use. The main diteh runs along the upper side 
of the tract, from which a number of shallow ditches conduct the water 
across the field, and this is further distributed by furrows connecting 
the secondary ditches. 

The first irrigating canal in Kansas was dug in 1880. A ditch 8 feet 
wide, 2 feet deep, and 4 miles long was constructed, and although it was 
not completed until late in the spring of that year, the success of the ex- 
periment was far beyond the most sanguine expectations. The following 
year a joint stock company bought the Garden Gity ditch, enlarging the 
main canal to 16 feet, extending it about 8 miles, and constructing two 
additional branches. The ditch now extends 20 miles and has a capacity 
for watering 10,000 acres of land. The Deerfield ditch leaves the river 
13 miles above Garden City. The works at the river consist of a wing- 
dam of sod to deflect the current into the canal, which has a sluice-gate 
to be used in shutting off the water, and a waste-gate to allow the water 
to pass down the river when shut out of the canal. The canal is about 
4 feet deep and 40 wide at this place, but decreases in width and depth 
as laterals are taken out, till in the neighborhood of Garden City the 
branches are not more than 2 feet deep and 10 feet wide. 

In the spring of 1881 a canal known as the Sherlock was surveyed 
to traverse the valley to a point north of Garden City. Eight miles 
had been constructed when the Deerfield and Sherlock consolidated. 
This company has under construction a ditch, which, with its branches, 
has a length of 30 miles and a capacity for watering 20,000 acres. 
The present canals and ditches have a length of over 300 miles, and 
for water service cover an area of about 600,000 acres. [See diagram.] 
The capital invested aggregates over $500,000. The land thus irrigated 
now sells at from $4 to $10per acre. The population of this valley, within 
the irrigable area not already included in the totals given, will not be 
less than 3,000 persons. The population in the unorganized counties, 
not given, may be estimated at 5,000 persons. The total population of 
that portion of the State in which it is assumed that the rainfall is in- 
sufficient for agricultural settlement is not less than 196,000, all of whom 
live on and cultivate the land. 

Western Nebraska, to the north of Kansas, equally shows, and per- 
haps in even a more marked way, the peculiar western movement of the 
rainfall, to which attention has been called as characteristic of the plains 
division. Professors Aughey and Wilbur, of the State University, and 
ex- Governor Furnas, of that State, all of them recognized authorities, 
declare that Western Nebraska and Eastern Wyoming, therefore, will 
show a steady climatic change. Professor Wilbur regards the rainfall as 
comparing favorably with that of European countries. A soil that is not 
cultivated, he says, is dead, or arid in character. He holds that there is 
no such thing as a desert in any part of the plains region ; that ordinary 
well water will be found in all directions, and that artesian water is also 
obtainable. He says: 

The under soil presents a saturated stratum of 8 feet in thickness, upon which 
capiilary attraction acts. When a settler on the frontier huilds his sod house, or roofs 
his dug-out with sod, he is sheltered from the rain. The thatch of sod throws off the 
rain which falls on it. Even so with the unbroken prairie. It is thatched ground. 
The rain falls but penetrates not. It may come in ample abundance, but as regards 
the laud on which it falls, it is mostly wasted. It rushes off into the drains, through 
the drains into the creeks and rivers, and from the rivers to the sea. When the plow 
of the husbandman breaks the sod the thatch is taken from the earth. Thenceforward 
the rain that falls largely stays. The absorbent soil of the prairie drinks up the 
moisture, and, for five or seven years of cultivation this absorbing process may go on. 

S Mis ../.<£. 49 2 



until the ground is thoroughly saturated and has taken up its plenum of water for 
the uses of the farm. I have talked with hundreds of farmers upon the frontier, and 
I have found this to he their experience — a gradual yet rapid development of the re- 
sources of the soil by the increase of moisture in its various forms, which follows upon 
cultivation. As cultivation extends the characteristic growths of the prairie change. 
The stunted buffalo grass is displaced by grasses of a richer growth. Trees spread out 
from the river bottoms, and the land which was known to the traveler before the 
farmer settled upon it would be known by him no longer. 

One of the most notable among the processes of reclamation is seen 
in the cultivation of timber. It is stated that since the passage of the 
timber-culture act (a law under which a settler receives 160 acres ad- 
ditional to the homestead of the same extent, on condition of planting 10 
acres thereof in forest trees) a great area has been set out. The extent 
of this arboriculture can be seen by remembering the fact that over 
29,000 acres were reported in 1884 as planted with growing timber in 
Western Kansas alone. In Nebraska, iu 1881, there were set out 
4,435,000 trees and over 2,000 bushels of tree seeds were sown. Up to 
July 1, 1884, the area reclaimed under the timber-culture act, within the 
States and Territories herein named, was 16,961,742 acres. If the law 
lias been obeyed in the past there is now growing an aggregate of 
4,240,433 acres of forest trees. If this is reduced, for fraudulent entries, 
by one-half, we shall still have an area of over 2,000,000 acres. The 
following tables, furnished by the General Land Office, are illustrative 
of the progress of occupation up to the date given within the great area 
under consideration in this report : 

Number of entries under the timber-culture aet of 1873 from July 1, 1874, to June 30, 1884. 

States and Territories. 

Number of 





42, 6(57 


24, 666 

25, 031 


26, 376. 85 
276 216.42 


8, 246, 304. 66 

238, 001. 13 

3, 938, 040. 45 
180, 509 21 

3, 553, 479. 64 

4, 559. 79 

51, 856. 78 


34, 846. 67 
63, 830. 98 



101, 287 

16, 961, 742. 32 

Desert-land entries under- act of March 3, 1877, and from said date to the same in 1884. 

Original desert. 

Final desert. 

State or Territory. 
















154, 431. 26 
383, 548. 55 
169, 915. 79 
482, 281. 07 
160, 412. 37 
121, 367. 60 
774, 096. 69 






17, 284. 30 

32. 547. 57 

300. 00 


72, 598. 31 


25, 941. 20 

5, 247. 03 

Utah. . 



41. 030. 47 



2, 453, 048. 50 


294, 264. 15 


Exclusive of these two classes of entries, designed to encourage the 
reclamation of laud by arboriculture and by irrigation respectively, 
and also exclusive of homestead entries, there were in the ten fiscal 
years between 1874 and 1884, 9,074,781 acres taken up under the pre- 
emption acts, and 11,748,355 acres selected on the railroad lands re- 
served by the United States as within the limits of construction grants. 



Dam at head of North Poudre Canal. — This dam is 30 feet 6 inches 
high in the center, and 150 feet broad at the top, and is formed in two 
parts. The face, which gives the necessary stability against floods, con- 
sists of crib-work and stones; the back, which renders the dam water- 
tight, is a vertical panel, or diaphragm of timber, backed with earth, 
small stones, gravel and mud, thrown in without puddling. The crib- 
work is formed of round logs 10 inches, at least, in diameter, joined at 
ends, as in ordinary log huts, with dove-tail or tongue joints. The cribs 
are 10 feet long on the face, and are fastened together with 18-inch tree- 
nails, 2 inches in diameter. The cribs are radiated to form, when laid 
close together across the stream, curved tiers of 200 feet, 210 feet, and 
232 feet radius on the face. There are three of these tiers 6 feet asun- 
der. The interior of these cribs, and the spaces between the stones, 
and the interior surfaces, are faced with large selected blocks of stone, 
carefully laid so as to overlap each other like slates or tiles of a house, 
and without mortar. The arrises are protected by 12-inch square balks, 
securely bolted to the cribs. The timber diaphragm is carried 4 feet 
higher than the cribs and stone work of the tallest tier, to form a slash 
board, which can be removed in sections in case it is found liable to be 
damaged by ice. The center portion of the dam for a length of 60 feet 
is carried 2 feet higher than the sides, to throw the bulk of the stream 
onto natural benches of solid quartz rocks on the sides, and thereby to 
protect the greater part of the face, and especially the toe in the center 
of the stream, from the abrading power of the water. 

The total cost of this dam was 87,250. The dam was founded on stone 
and debris, the depth of which had not been sounded, but it was hoped 
that the clay thrown in the back of the dam, combined with the silting 
up of the river, would have the effect of stopping the flow of the water, 
and the result justified the expectation. This dam is not intended for 
storage purposes, but is simply a weir for raising the water high enough 
to enter the flumes and tunnels. The canal regulators are ordinary 
sluices, inserted in the flumes about 100 feet below the dam. 

The objections that are urged against timber being used are met by 
the fact that the massive stone, or masonry in cement, which would 
have been requisite to secure the mass of material used would have been 
too costly. The cost, $7,250, was very low for a weir 144 feet long, but 
the foundations were not necessarily extensive, and the source of sup- 
ply of stone and timber was at hand. 

Montezuma Valley, in Southwest Colorado, is now the seat of a great 
irrigation enterprise. It is described in current reports as follows : 
The valley is about 30 miles long, running from northeast to southwest, 
and is nearly 10 miles wide. The water is to be taken out of the Dolores 
River at the northeast end of the valley. The State has located about 
26,000 acres of land in the valley, and'probably about 10,000 or 15,000 


acres have been located by actual settlers, leaving between 50,000 and 
100,000 acres yet unclaimed. The locations are principally at the upper 
end of the valley, near the tunnel. Mr. Nettleton, the State engineer, 
states that when the tunnel and the ditches are complete, there will be 
an abundance of water for irrigating the entire valley. 

The Grand Eiver Canal, in Western Colorado, has a width at the bot- 
tom of 35 feet, on the top of 50 feet, and a depth of 5 feet for the first 
10 miles. The size then diminishes until for the last 2£ miles the width 
is 16 feet on the bottom and the depth 3 feet. The grade is .035 per 
hundred, or a little over 22 inches to the mile. The banks are given a 
slope of 1 h to 1, are 3 feet wide on top and 2 feet above the water 
surface. There are several drops, one of 6 feet, one of 13 feet, and one 
of 35 feet, while down the valley about 14 miles there is a final fall 
of about 14 feet. Just above the second fall a lateral canal has been 
carried out on the upper level, a distance of 17 miles down the valley, 
carrying 3 feet of water. The location of the head is so favorable that 
a full head of water can be taken out of the river at its lowest stage of 
supply, so that water in this canal, in consequence of the volume run- 
ning in winter season, can be in operation the year around, a fact very 
important in Grand Valley, where it is assumed that late irrigation will 
be advisable and early irrigation a necessity for the germination of 
seed. The flumes, head-gate and waste- weirs have been built in the 
most substantial manner. 


Dams at Plimnix. — These dams are formed of stakes, brush, and bowl- 
ders, rendered water-tight by filling in, up stream, with gravel and 
sand. Stakes are first driven across the channel, and between these 
bundles or fascines of willow trees about 3 inches in diameter at their 
butts are laid, with butts down stream, and weighted with a layer of 
bowlders; tule reeds in bundles are also used, mixed with willow and 
cottonwood tree. In alternate layers the dam is built up to the height 
of 5 feet. The willows sprout and the whole forms a mass of living 
brush and bowlders. When the current is too strong for a man to 
withstand while driving stakes, cribs are made and floated out ktid 
sunk, as was done with the fascine dam at Merced Canal head, in Cal- 

The Arizona Canal weir across the Salt Eiver at Phoenix is of rubble 
and crib work, and is 173 feet long and 6 deep at most. The banks are of 
rock. The mode of constructing the weir was to throw in stones of one 
to three tons weight, from a pontoon moored up stream right across the 
weir, until a bar was formed, which caused the water to spill over it the 
whole width of the channel. A bed of shingle 3 feet thick over the 
rock bottom has been scoured out as the blocks of stone obstructed 
and contracted the flow until all rested on the rock bed. The water 
flowing between the blocks became choked with shingle to the original 
level of the bed. Cribs, 12 by 22 feet, consisting of three 24-foot 12- 
inch logs, each 6 feet apart, across which four 14-foot 12 inch logs, about 7 
feet apart, were secured by iron bolts spiking them together. Between 
these 14-foot logs 2-iuch planking was spiked to the three longitudinal 
logs, forming a platform or floor. 

These cribs were built to the height corresponding with the depth of 

the water where they were to be sunk and floated out, guided by the 

pontoon, which was so moored that it could traverse the whole face of 

the weir. On being placed in position the cribs were loaded with ston^ 

% Mis. 15 4 


until they sunk to the bed in the desired positiou, and were then filled 
up to the water's surface. The cribs were placed diagonally to the face 
line of the weir so that they overlapped. Fascines made of willow, 2J 
feet in diameter, were filled with stones. These were made on the pon- 
toon and dropped, into the water in the position , they were to occupy, 
being in the direction of the current, one end touching the crib-work 
along the whole bed ; another series of fascines, forming five rows, were 

hen laid across the stream against the upper end of the first series. 
Over these fascines bowlders and gravel were deposited, as also between 
the rock breakwater and crib up to the level of the top of the crib- work, 

6 feet above the bed ; 24-foot fascines are then laid over the fascines 
and parallel to the stream, overlapping the bowlder and shingle, filling- 
and binding it together. 

The bowlder and gravel filling is continued 8J feet higher, at which 
level a finishing layer of fascines 10 feet long is laid, over which the 
water passes. The cost of this weir and head-works is $10,000, includ- 
ing $2,000 expended in a previous effort which failed. Besides this 
weir there is another, a waste weir, forming a portion of the canal head- 
work, its use being to keep the head-gate clear of sand and shingle. 
It is at an angle to the canal head-gate, and its gates are kept open 3 
inches, so that there is a constant rush of water at the floor level, carry- 
ing any deposited material away. 


The Riverside dam is a brush and sand one, formed by driving 3-inch 
poles or stakes in the bed across the stream, and between them pack- 
ing in willow and cotton wood brush, with the branches up stream ; the 
water scours out b^low, and the brush is pressed down and more is 
added until the whole stream is passing through brush. This soon 
causes a deposit of silt and forms a solid bank, over which the excess 
water falls. It is sometimes necessary to construct a temporary dam 
to retard the flow, and then make a more permanent one above it. The 
off-take forms a, wing of the dam, gradually narrowing to the canal. 
The Mexicans, who are very expert at this work, are generally employed. 
The dam for the off-take of the upper canal is constructed in the same 
manner, and the wing and dam are continuous. 

The wing-dam at Los Angeles, constructed across the river for sup- 
plying the irrigation canal, is made as in India ; first stakes are driven 
in across the stream, brush is laid between them and the sand thrown 
in, and then other layers of brush are added. When the current runs 
along the face of the dam, branches with their leaves projecting into 
the current are thrown loosely out, arresting the current, and causing 
a deposit of sand, and so strengthening the work. Here the work was 
(lone by Mexicans. 

jrced River dam. — The original dam, a portion of which remaius, 
was constructed on the crib principle, the cribs being formed of tri- 
angular frames connected by longitudinal planks, forming a floor and 
sides about 2 feet high. The cribs were made in about 20-foot lengths, 
floated out into their positions in the current by means of ropes, and 
sunk by bowlders filled in over the floor. Purlins were fastened to the 
beams, on which 2-inch planking was nailed. Bowlders and 
gle filled in up stream prevented the water passing underneath. 
The connection with the bank was defective, and resulted in the dam 
being breached at the left bank and 200 feet being carried away, but the 
breach has been stopped by a temporary dam of brush and bowlders 



This had to be effected whilst the discharge was about 500 cubic feet a 
second, and was done in the following manner : Cribs were made of 10- 
foot by 4-foot 4-inch lumber, and were floated to equidistant points in 
the gap, and there sunk by being filled with bowlders, forming fixed 
supports or piers about 15 feet apart. They were filled with bowlders 
from the bank by means of planks extending from it to the crib, the 
one next the bank being filled first, and so on. 

Fascines, 2 feet in diameter, were made, 40 feet longer than the gap to 
be closed. These were made along the bank some distance up stream. 
They were easily rolled into the water and towed across the stream, so 
as to overlap the remaining end of the dam 20 feet, the remaining 20 
feet being carried along the bank to be deposited in a trench cut into 
the bank down to 2 feet below water level. The fascines floating down 
are easily controlled and guided to the position they have to occupy 
when stopped by the cribs. Here they are pushed down to the bed 
and are laid there in order and weighted with bowlders. 

Then fascines, 30 to 60 feet long, are laid crosswise on these, weighted 
by stones. More longitudinal fascines are placed on these. The top 
layer consists of short fascines lying up and down stream, which are 
filled with stones and covered with the heaviest procurable bowlders. 
The connection with the bank is somewhat similarly made and requires 
particular care. The fascines can be made of any specific gravity 
greater than their own by placing stones in their body. They are 
bound with wire. The cribs are of no use as soon as the fascine Avork 
is completed, and large bowlders filled in down stream, to break the 
action of the falling water, but they are not removed, and may proba- 
bly serve as piers to enable repairs to be made. 

Storage dams. — The storage dams for temporary purposes, such as 
hydraulic mining, are usually formed of timber cribs filled with stones, 
or of dry-stone masonry. For the permanent storage of San Fran- 
cisco water supply, where the first cost would not influence the selec- 
tion, earthen dams were adopted because the foundations were found 
to be of clay, at a depth of 47 feet, and not safe for masonry, on ac- 
count of its liability to compression. The Pillarcitos reservoir dam, 
which retains 1,000,000,000 gallons, is framed of earth. It is 040 feet 
long On top, 26 feet wide, and 95 feet high. A puddle-pit is sunk be- 
low the base of the dam 46 feet. The inner slope is 2f to 1 vertical, 
and the outer 2J to 1. This dam has been built twenty-one years. 

The San Andreas dam and reservoir is of nearly identical dimen- 
sions with the Pillarcitos, excepting that the slopes are 3 and 3J to 1. 
It has developed no defects, although constructed in the same manner. 
With 89 feet depth of water against it, it will retain 6,690,000,000 gal- 
lons. The great depth of puddle-wall in both dams was necessary to 
intercept subterranean drainage through gravel and bowlder strata, 
indicating the beds of the valley drainage in earlier periods. The pre- 
caution of sinking this deep puddle wall was justifiable where a town 
supply was the object of the work. The puddle was continued up to 
the top of the dam, not in the form of a separate wall, which has been 
the frequent cause of failure of dams, but intimately bounded with in- 
ner and outer masses forming the slopes. 

The dam was formed in layers sloping toward the middle, the base 
having been first excavated to form a hollow across the valley, this 
material being used to form the outer portion when of non-impervious 
material. The most impervious material was used for the interior mass, 
forming a puddle core, the exterior layers overlapping its layers alter- 


Iii the Pillarcitos reservoir dam waste weirs are formed capable of 
passiDg 800,000,000 gallons daily; one is a tunnel through the eastern 
hank, the other is built -of wood. The natural drainage basin is 4 
square miles. This is increased by a wooden Hume, 42 inches by 10 
inches cross-section, which brings water from several small tributaries 
that join the main stream below the dam, and which increases the drain- 
age area one-fourth. The excess water from this reservoir goes into 
the San Andreas to the extent of 26,000,000 gallons daily. 

The construction of stone dams for temporary storage uses about 
three times the quantity of stone required by a properly proportioned 
profile of a cement masonry dam. The faces are laid up by hand and 
the interior filled with stone without laying. The beds of the stones in 
the wall on the water face are sometimes placed perpendicularly to the 
slope, instead of horizontally. The cost of such a construction will, in 
favorable cases, be much less than that of masonry laid in cement, the 
cost of masonry laid in cement being from $20 to $25 per cubic yard, and 
the dry-stone masonry costing from $2 to $3.50 per cubic yard. 

The prevention of leakage is secured with more or less success in 
different cases by a lining of plank laid in timber, built in the inner slope 
of the dam and carefully fitted to the bed rock. The joints may be 
calked, or if seasoned planks are used, the swelling by the water 
sufficiently closes the joints. Earth is sometimes used in the inner 
slope to secure tightness. 

The Forclyce Valley reservoir dam on the Yuba Eiver, Nevada County, 
is a construction of dry-stone masonry as above described. It is 105 
feet high, with the inner slope of 45°, and an outer batter of 4 vertical 
to 1 base. The base of the dam at its widest part is 1G5 feet. The area 
of the reservoir thus formed is 1,200 acres. An example of a masonry 
in cement dam, recently constructed, retaining S,000,000,000 gallons, is 
the Bear Valley Reservoir dam in San Bernardino County, California. 
It is across a gorge with precipitous rocky sides into which the dam is 
abutted, forming an arc of a circle with a radius of 167 J feet, arching 
up stream. It is 17 feet at its base, 60 feet high, and 3 feet thick by 300 
feet long on the top. The whole is built of large granite blocks set in 
Portland cement, the interstices being filled with concrete which is thor- 
oughly consolidated. It contains 3,300 cubic yards of rock, set with 
1,300 barrels of cement. The cost was $60,000. The outlet is through 
a culvert beneath the dam, closed by a gate 21 by 24 inches ; it dis- 
charges into a basin whose outlet is over a weir for the measurement 
of the discharge. On one side of the dam is an overflow channel in 
the rock. Its floor is 4 feet lower than the crest of the dam. 

The lake formed by this dam will be 5 miles long, with an average 
width of about 1 mile wide and a depth of 12 feet. The drainage area is 
60 square miles, and one-third of the smallest rainfall recorded here will 
assure the filling of the reservoir. It is capable of discharging 120 cubic 
feet per second continuously, but it is intended to supply only 72 cubic 
feet per second, allowing the balance as a reserve in case of drought. 
For the irrigation of fruit trees and vineyards this will suffice for 400 or 
500 acres per cubic foot, or about 30,000 acres in all. The timber and 
stone constructions tor the temporary storages are of pine logs, tree- 
nailed at each intersection, set 6 feet apart, forming cribs measuring 
about 10 by 6 from center to center. These are filled with stones. The 
water face is either planked, as in the dry-stone dam sections, or in- 
stead of planks small trees are used and calked with bark. These 
works are always in mountain gorges, on rock beds, to which they are 
secured with iron bolts, fox- wedged and set in sulphur. 


Subsoil dams are frequently constructed in California, with the object 
of cutting oif the subterranean flow of water in channels whose beds 
soon become dry on the surface. It is first ascertained by sinking shafts 
across the channel whether water is thus passing subterraneously. This 
will be observable in some cases by floating substances traversing the 
shaft, but if the flow is very slow it may not be detected by this means, 
and coloring the water with a dye will show it by a replacement of the 
colored by pure water passing through the shaft. A subterraueous 
water flow is frequently brought to the surface by impervious stratatra- 
versing its course. Localities in which this occurs are the best sites 
for weirs. It is not probable that such natural bars are to be found 
in the plains, far removed from the source of supply, and to produce 
them artificially in such situations would necessitate very deep and 
probably very extended walls. The trial shafts should therefore be 
made where the valley is well defined in character. 

Of course these submerged dams can only bring water to the surface 
of the channel where the latter is of sand or gravel through which the 
water would rise, forming an artesian supply. Where the surface of the 
bed is of sand, in which the water could be again lost, the elevated water 
would of course be diverted to an impervious channel provided for it. 
Where such subterraneau water can be intercepted a considerable sup- 
ply might be expected for some months after the water ceased to flow 
previous to the interception, for doubtless in many cases a considerable 
proportion of the rainfall is absorbed and given off gradually to sub- 
terraneau strata. 

Subterranean currents have also in several instances been interrupted 
by means of tunnels run in from the surface 2,000 and 3,000 feet, the 
flow being planked to form a flume and the water then conducted to 
open channels. Tunnels of this character are at Ontario and at Passa- 
dena, where a second tunnel was driven at a higher level, completely 
cutting off the supply from the first enterprise. At Riverside it has been 
ascertained that there is a large subdrainage in the low land forming 
the bank of the river. A level channel for half a mile, cutting across 
this drainage so that the flow shall be intercepted, will give perfectly 
clear water, sufficient for the canal supply. Should half a mile not be 
sufficient it can be extended. 

Flumes are used where it would cost considerably more to convey 
j^ater in an excavated channel, or where the soil is gravelly, and the loss 
by percolation would be great. Eavines are crossed by flumes or pipes. 
The objection urged against flumes is their continual cost for repair, 
and danger of destruction by fire. Where they are used, and practica- 
ble, they are set on a heavier grade than channels 30 to 35 feet per mile, 
and are of proportionally smaller area than channels with less grade. 
They should be constructed in straight lines if possible. Curves where 
required should be carefully set out, so that the flume may discharge 
its maximum quantity. Many canals have miles of fluming in California. 
In the ordinary style of construction, sills, posts, and ties support and 
strengthen the work at every 4 feet. The posts are let into the ties 
and sills. The sills extend 20 inches beyond the posts, to which side- 
braces are nailed to strengthen the structure. Where flumes are not 
supported on trestles, but rest on an excavated ledge, it is desirable 
still to use the stringers, which should be placed just outside the posts, 
so that water leaking from the sides will drop clear of them. Main sup- 
ports, such as trestles, are placed 8 feet apart, Planking should be 
either redwood or heart sugar pine 


A flame at Riverside is 900 feet long, the section being 8 feet by 2 
feet 8 inches, the sills rest on concrete blocks made in situ, molds being 
over the spot where the block is required, and concrete consolidated 
into it. Its greatest height is 42 feet; the total cost, $G,200 ; waste- 
gate at the upper end cost $200. Thi is necessary in case of repairs 
being required. The connection with the land at either end is 15 feet 
long, with sets of flanges projecting 5 feet on either side, and a 10- 
incii plank underneath. The joints are covered with a solution of as- 
phalt in turpentine, which is elastic, and does not crack. This pro- 
tection would not be necessary if carefully-joined redwood were used. 

A flume at Los Angeles, constructed by Mr. F. Eaton, is "both econom- 
ical of material and strong in design. Here Oregon timber was used. 
The joints were left open one-sixteenth of an inch, and champered, and 
the inside swabbed with asphalt. The planks were 10 feet long, break- 
ing joints at 8 feet. Cattle troughs are made on the same plan from 8 
to 10 feet long. 

Flumes are often constructed, instead of small channels, where the 
soil is porous and the quantity of water limited. These are made of 
three planks, in lengths about 10 feet, and butt-jointed (the joint being 
covered and connected by a 3-inch by 1-inch piece), and are laid to a 
grade of 10 feet to the mile or more. Holes are made in them opposite 
each tree or furrow that requires water, a stop is placed in the flume 
below the length to be irrigated, and the plugs removed from the holes 
when the water is to be delivered. 

The Bear Eiver Canal flume is 500 feet long, with section of 5 feet by 
3 feet, and a fall of 10 feet per mile. Flumes are extensively used in 
hilly districts for drainage across the land, and a waste flume is inserted 
opposite the drainage, permitting the water in excess of the channel's 
capacity to escape. A flume is sometimes carried inside a larger one, 
the smaller one delivering the water at a higher level, or to another 
irrigator, so that the two supplies may be kept separate. 

The asbestine system. — The inventors of this system hold that in a 
region where no rain falls during the long summer, the only proper 
way to irrigate orchards, vineyards, &c, is to apply the water below 
the surface of the ground, keeping the surface dry. The asbestine sys- 
tem consists in conducting the water in concrete pipes below the reach 
of the plow along each row of trees. At each tree a plug is set in the 
upper side of the pipe,each plug having a small hole, through which v 
and nowhere else, the w T ater escapes, falling on the outside of the pipe 
and being taken into the soil by capillary attraction. It saves from 
three-fourths to nine-tenths the water used in surface irrigation. It is 
under perfect control and can be applied wherever irrigation is needed. 

There is no need of summer cultivation, either before or after irrigat- 
ing. The surface of the ground is always dry in summer, hence exempt 
from the unavoidable chill of surface irrigation. The soil is never ex- 
cesssively wet and cannot bake, but remains moist, loose, and at nearly 
uniform temperature, promoting a long summer growth. Anything that 
the soil lacks as plant-food (manure, lime, &c.) can be easily, directly, 
and economically applied in liquid form. The pest of the vineyard, 
phylloxera, can be thus easily reached. No grading is necessary, as the 
system works as well on hillsides and undulating land as on ground 
uniformly sloping. 

If, through carelessness, muddy water is let into the pipe, and sedi- 
ment collects, one or more of the lower plugs can be taken out, and the 
water passed rapidly through. The pipes will thus be cleaned. If the 


water is kept in motion, the sediment it contains should not be de- 

The following brief notice of this system , as found in use on the vine- 
yard and fruit-farm of Mr. C. L. Briggs, in the Sacramento Valley, is 
from a small volume by Mr. Dow, of Melbourne, Australia, and occurs 
in an account of a visit paid by Mr. Dow to the Briggs farm : 

The pipes, 4 inches in diameter, are made on the place by an ingenious machine, 
from cement and fine gravel, in the proportion of three- fourths- of the latter to one- 
fourth of the former, and are laid at a depth of 20 inches down the center, between 
each second row of vines, with an opening for the escape of the water in the upper 
side of the pipe every 30 feet. The pipe-making machine is so constructed as to travel 
along the trench, making, and laying the piping in one operation, after which, the 
earth is covered in with a guard over the vent-holes to prevent choking. 

- The water supply, raised when required from a neighboring stream by steam-engine 
and centrifugal pump, is commanded by sluice-doors at various points, to admit of the 
water being laid on or shut off at pleasure; but excellent as the system is in theory, 
Mr. Briggshas not yet managed to get it to work with thorough satisfaction. 

Mr. Holt, of Riverside, has devised a different mode of letting the water escape from 
the pipes. To prevent the holes in the plugs becoming occasionally closed by roots 
finding their way into them, a section of about 6 inches long is cut out of the con- 
tinuous pipe where the plugged hole would be, and a square hole, about 6 inches by G 
inches, sunk below the gap in the pipe. A tile, in the form of a saddle,?) inches long, 
covers the gap, and the water escapes between the two surfaces, The advantage of 
this plan is that if roots do find their way between the two faces they are easily 
cleaned away by cutting them. The hole below the gap catches any silt that may 
pass down the pipe. This most economical system of irrigation should be especially 
suited to cases in which water is very scarce, as where it is raised by wind-power. 
The water will spread over a circular area of 16 feet diameter in four or five hours. 
Sub-irrigation is practiced largely in Japan. 

Pipes and conduits.— Where water is scarce, and has to be conveyed 
long distances in channels excavated in the soil, exposing it to too great 
a loss, impervious channels and pipes of various Muds have been re- 
sorted to to convey it to land that was valueless without it. This has 
caused the adoption of a variety of materials to render conduits imper- 
vious, and of various modes of application of water by their means. 
The following impervious conduits are used: (1) Wooden flumes ; (2) 
lined channels ; (3) wrought-iron riveted asphalted pipes ; (4) wrought- 
iron laminated asphalted pipes ; (5) terra cotta pipes ; (6) cemented 
pipes ; (7) asphalt pipes. 

Lined channels. — TheZanja Madre Channel at Los Angeles was lined 
with concrete, and had a cross-section of a segment of an ellipse, w r ith a 
diameter of 5 feet and a depth of 3J feet. The thickness of concrete was 
6 inches. The ingredients were hydraulic lime, two parts; clean, sharp 
sand, three parts ; pebbles, 1 inch in diameter, four parts ; small stones, 
2 to 3 inches in diameter, four parts; large stone, not exceeding 5 
inches in diameter, four parts ; cost $2 per lineal foot. 

A tunnel conveying water to Los Angeles was lined on the bottom 
with concrete 4 inches thick, forming a semi-circle of 4 feet diameter. 
The cost was 75 cents per linear foct, with cement at about $4 per cask. 
Wrought-iron riveted and asphalted pipes are extensively used in Los 
Angeles County for irrigation. They are jointed, stovepipe fashion, and 
when not subjected to too great pressure are set with red or white lead. 

Wrought-iron laminated asphalted jripes are made of two shells of 
sheet-iron. These shells are made of one sheet of iron 8 feet long, 
rolled and lapped 1 inch, and united by a composition solder. They 
are half the thickness of iron that would be necessary for the ordinary 
sheet-iron pipe. The inner shell is telescoped into the outer shell whilst 
immersed in hot asphalt, specially prepared, giving a thickness between 
the sheets one-sixteenth of an inch, or more, if desired, thus making an 
impassable barrier to corrosion from outside or inside. The outside and 


inside coatings are also substantial. This produces a solid shell 8 feet 
long, with an inner surface free from all excrescences. 

The pipe is also made double, of one sheet, by rolling a sheet that is 
twice the width of the single sheet until the edges will lap with a thick- 
ness of iron between them; the lap is riveted. This is dipped m as- 
phalt, but it cannot have the intermediate lamina of asphalt, which is 
the main advantage of the laminated over the single sheet-iron pipe. 
Both these descriptions of pipes are jointed end to end, an inner sleeve 
being fixed in the shop. In laying, the end is dipped in hot asphalt 
and an outer sleeve is also dipped and pressed on by a clamp over the 
point until the asphalt is set. Bends and branches are of cast-iron, as 
in the ordinary sheet-iron pipe, and the joints are made with cement. 

The 4-inch laminated pipe has been tested up to 500 pounds per square 
inch. Its price is about 25 cents per linear foot. The double-rolled 
pipe is about 17 cents per foot. The construction of the latter is much 
simpler, and the asphalt has been found a perfect protection from rust, 
so there is no necessity for the lamination. Terra-cotta pipes would be 
excluded by their price, except for some special purpose, such as sew- 
erage or culverts, for use under roads, &c. Concrete pipes, where good 
sand is obtainable, and no pressure is required, are extensively used. 

At Ontario Colony, San Bernardino County, an irrigation enterprise 
has been started, which is mainly dependent on concrete pipes for con- 
veying the water from the caiion. Thirty miles of 12-inch concrete pipe 
have been laid here, at a cost of about 43 cents per linear foot for mak- 
ing. The ingredients are cement, sand, and gravel, in the proportion 
of one of cement to four of clean, sharp sand, and gravel. The gravel 
may be as large as half the thickness of the shell of the pipe. 

The pipes are formed in molds of sheet-iron. These consist of two 
sheet-iron cylinders, an inner and an outer, both of which can be ex- 
panded and contracted by means of a bar fixed parallel to the joint from 
which four arms project, connected with the outer edge of the joint so as 
to close and open it. Between these cylinders is a cast-iron ring, form- 
ing the base. This cast-iron ring is shaped to mold the end of the pipe 
to form a socket. The inner cylinder or core is kept central at its base 
by being inside the cast-iron base. It is centred above by hand until 
sufficient of the concrete mixture has been consolidated around it to 
keep it so. The filling is then completed, being put in in small quanti- 
ties at a time, and consolidated with an iron rammer. The upper end 
of the pipe is shaped to form a spigot by means of a cast-iron ring that 
is worked round by hand. A 6-inch diameter 2-foot-long pipe is made 
at the rate of one length per minute by three men. Only as much of the 
mixture must be made at one time as can be used within ten minutes after 
mixing, or its setting qualities will be injured. The newly-made pipe 
is removed from the mold or the mold, from it on the drying area, the base 
being left for it to stand on until sufficiently set to handle. In handling 
the larger-sized sections a clip with handles is used, and another for 

The pipes made with a mixture of one to four are not guaranteed to 
stand pressure, but with a slight increase, and well consolidated, they 
will stand a considerable head. They are cheaper than any other pipes 
when suitable sand and gravel are obtainable near the site where they 
are to be used. A continuous pipe-making machine, for making a con- 
tinuous concrete pipe in a trench excavated to the required depth for 
sub-irrigation, consists of a cylinder of the size of the pipe required, in 
which an india-rubber core is moved backwards and forwards by a lever, 
the concrete material being thrown into a funnel fixed at right angles 


to the pipe-making cylinder. By this means three men can make over 
1,000 feet of 2-inch piping in ten hours. This system is not much used. 

Asphalt-concrete pipes are made as described for concrete pipes, and 
are superior to them, being perfectly impervious, and capable of with- 
standing much greater pressure. The proportion of sand to asphalt 
and the other ingredients could not be ascertained, but the quantity of 
the sand need not be limited, as in cement concrete, for the larger the 
quantity of sand used the harder and better the pipes. The pipes are 
united by heating them so as to form a continuous pipe, as strong at 
the joints as in another part. Where the ground is yielding they are 
laid on piles driven 6 feet into the ground, and a plank laid on top of 
the piles upon which the pipe rests. 

The Highland Park Water- Works, Los Angeles, for irrigation and do- 
mestic supply.— The source of the supply is the Arroyo Seco, a torrent 
which runs a few days only after each rainfall, and springs, yielding 
during the dry months about .08 cubic feet per second. There are 400 
acres supplied by the system, which must necessarily depend for its ir- 
rigation on the flood flow ; hence a storage reservoir is necessary of suf- 
ficient capacity to store the rainfall as it occurs, to be applied, to the 
land during the intervals of dry weather, which through the rainy season 
average about fifteen days each. Allowing 2 inches depth as the mini- 
mum, for each irrigation, 400 acres would require eighteen and one- 
seventh million gallons. The reservoir capacity is 20,000,000 gallons, 
and is connected with the main pipe, so that any excess over the dis- 
tribution flows into the reservoir, and of course when the supply from 
the source is less than the pressure from the reservoir, the distribution 
receives the water from the latter. The reservoir is therefore the head 
to which the supply pressure is due unless the reservoir main valve be 
closed, when the head at the source would furnish the pressure. 

This system is capable of supplying 12 inches depth of water over the 
400 acres during the year, in addition to the rainfall, which averages 
12 inches, and falls between the months of November and May v The 
land thus receives 24 inches depth of water, which is ample in this 
country for most products required, excepting oranges and alfalfa. The 
main pipe is «S inches in diameter, asphalted wrought-iron, and the dis- 
tribution pipes are of the same material, and from 2 inches to 6 inches 
in diameter. Each lot takes its supply through a 2-inch pipe. The 
effective pressure is 40 pounds per square inch. The land is irrigated 
by furrows, and service-pipes are laid over the ground in some cases, so 
that each tree can be watered from a rubber hose into a check of from 
5 feet to 12 feet diameter, according to the age of the trees. 

The head works are temporary, consisting of a wooden trough 100 
feet long. This is laid in the bowlder bed of the channels, with the top 
of the sides slightly below the bed line. It is anchored by cleats fast- 
ened to its bottom, that extend 3 feet from the sides. These are covered, 
and the trough filled with bowlders, the water flowing between the 
bowlders. The trough at its lower end is connected with a 10-inch 
cement pipe. The temporary wooden flume will be replaced by a per- 
forated wrought-iron pipe that will extend 100 feet, 5 feet below the 
shingle and bowlder bed, the water being dammed back by a submerged 
weir, causing the water that the pipe is capable of carrying drawn 
off by it ; the water will thus be filtered of anything that can now pass 
between the bowlders. The cost of this scheme was $21,300. 

The Ontario colony. — This colony is an example of utilizing waste 
land and water to the maximum of benefit. It is situated on the sloping 
land from the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains, where San Ber- 


nardino and Los Angeles Counties join, the San Antonio Canon or 
Valley giving" a perpetual supply of water from the mountain snows in 
the summer, and from rain which falls on the lower slopes and hills in 
the cold months. The soil was analyzed and examined as to its pro- 
ductive capability, and found to be peculiarly adapted for the growth 
of vines and fruit-trees. The climate was also favorable. Having pur- 
chased the land and the water rights, the colonists distributed the 
water by means of' cement pipes over the whole tract, divided into 10- 
acre lots, so that each lot should be supplied at the highest point. To 
accomplish all this has cost about $170,000. This includes roads, streets, 
railway station, hotel, college, dam, and 27 miles of pipes, masonry-lined 
channel and tunnel, iron pipes for supply of township, &c. 

A dam diverts the surface water from the channel, but as a large 
quantity passes below the bed, a tunnel 3,000 feet long has been driven 
across this drainage and leads it into a masonry -lined channel, which ss 
0,000 feet long. The water is taken from this channel by the cement 
pipes, but a reservoir will be constructed to store the surplus water not 
required during the non-irrigating season, and the pipes will then con- 
nect with it. It is intended here to use the laminated wrought-iron 
pipe, preferring it to the single-shell riveted pipe. The water is deliv- 
ered and measured from the cement pipes by means of a vertical con- 
nection, at which point a valve is fixed, consisting of a cast-iron plate, 
with an aperture the size of the pipe in it, and a groove for the valve to 
slide in. This valve is simply a plate of cast-iron with a wrought-iron 
lifting-rod. The tunnel referred to was decided on after sinking ex- 
perimental shafts across the valley and then ascertaining that there was 
such a subterranean flow that a light substance, such as a chip of wood, 
would be carried to the bottom of the shaft. 

This mode of intercepting water has been frequently resorted to with 
the most surprising results. The quantity of water used for irrigating 
by the pipe system is one cubic foot of water per second to every fifty 
acres. The value of 1 cubic foot of water per second where it can be 
applied, as here, to fruit-growing, is estimated at $50,000, The unit of 
measure is one-fiftieth of a cubic foot, and is termed an inch of water, 
and is measured by the discharge through an aperture 1 inch square in 
a 1-inch plank under a 4-inch pressure. The discharge of a stream for 
irrigating purposes is estimated for the mid-summer period, that is, from 
the 15th of July to the 1st of August, when it is at its lowest. 

Calloway Canal, Kern County. — Stretching across the Kern River, a dis- 
tance of some 600 feet, between the head-gate of Calloway and that of 
the Farmers' Canal, and secured at either end by substantial abutments 
of earth, faced with planking, is a movable weir for the purpose of di- 
verting water at low stages. This weir is fixed upon a floor resting 
.3 feet below the bed of the river, upon anchor piling, protected from 
wasting and undermining by three parallel rows of sheet piling of 4-inch 
plank, driven into the sandy bed to a depth of 10 feet, one line of piling- 
resting under each end of the floor and one under the center. Upon 
this floor are placed, at distances of 4 feet, movable bents, resting at an 
angle of 45 degrees upon braces properly tied. Pivots at the top of 
the bents are passed upward through holes in a continuous line of 
2-inch plank, which serves as a foot-bridge in manipulation, tying the 
whole together, and in grooves provided on the upper face of the bents, 
6-inch boards, in lengths of 12 feet, are slipped in the form of a dam to 
raise the water as necessity may require. 

During ordinary high water all weir-boards are removed and the flood 
passes harmlessly through, and in case of an extreme freshet the struct- 


ure would simply rise from the floor, fall to pieces, and float down 
stream, without causing any further damage or material expense of re- 
adjustment. The weir was built in the fall of 1884, upon the plans and 
under the superintendence of M. F. H. Colton, superintendent of the 
Kern Island Irrigating Canal, and has answered admirably the purpose 
for which intended. The cost cannot be given, though cheapness was 
one of the advantages claimed for it. 

Distribution of water. — When large areas have to be irrigated, or when 
the supply of water is limited and labor scarce, time and economy of 
water have to be considered in preparing the land for receiving the water. 
The system requiring least labor is that of flooding, sluice-gates having 
merely to be opened and kept so until the required quantity of water 
has been supplied to the prepared area or "check." The quantity ot 
water used in excess of what is just sufficient for the nourishment of 
the crop will be in proportion to the size of the area irrigated and the 
volume of water thrown on it; thus, the area of the check might be so 
large in proportion to the volume of water that the absorption would 
exceed the supply, when the water would only spread over a certain 
area. This area should be the maximum extent of a check, and it would 
be better if it were made smaller or the supply increased. This would 
cause it to be covered in a shorter time, and lessen the loss of water in 
excess of what is essential. 

When the soil is compact the area of the check w r ould be made larger 
than where it is absorbent; these conditions have to be considered in 
laying out the distributing channels. In the check irrigation from the 
Poso Canal, on the Kern Island farm, a portion of the distributing 
channels are placed one-fourth of a mile apart, and their banks form two 
of the bounding ridges or levees of the checks, the fourth boundary being 
a contour or level levee connecting the channel levees. The top of the 
contour levee must be 3 or 4 inches above the level of the opposite side, 
so that it can be covered with water to that depth. The levee should 
have a base of 20 to 1 vertical, forming a gentle swell in the land upon 
which the crop grows. The less the height of this contour levee the 
better, because the quantity of water spread over the land will be of a 
more uniform depth, and will interfere less with the plowing and har- 
vesting Operations. A height of 6 inches has been found best, with a 
base of 10 feet, but a height of 12 inches has been used. The crop then 
was lucerne. 

The fall of the country here away from the canal is 12 feet per mile 
The levees were put into farm terraces, each 1 foot below the other, 
limiting the area or check to about 20 acres, which, in this soil, was 
considered the maximum for economy with the volume of water avail a 
ble — 80 to 100 cubic feet per second. Smaller checks are preferable, as 
the crops produced by a short submergence are as good as those longei 
submerged, in which the waste must be greater. On more level land 
the check need not, of course, be so high to divide off the same area, 
and on land which is entirely level it need only have a height equal to 
the depth of the water applied at each irrigation. The low levees are 
less liable to he breached, and breaches are more easily closed when 
they occur. The crop growing over it protects it from being eroded, 
and renders it unnecessary to have the excess water against it passed 
on to the next by levee gates, or by making an opening, as the small 
depth of water would be absorbed before the crop would be injured. 

The supply-canal is along the highest part of the land to be irrigated 
The distributaries are 16 feet at bed, with slopes 1 J to 1, the mean depth 
being 3 feet, and are closed at their offtakes by gates giving 15 feel 


waterway. There are stop-gates at intervals along the distributaries, 
by means of which the water is raised to cause it to be discharged on 
to the checks; these stops also act as drops where the fall of the chan- 
nel is greater than the soil will stand. The check, or side-gates, of 
which there are two to each check, are from each distributary bound- 
ing the check, and have a waterway of G feet, with a depth of 5 feet from 
the top of the levee, the flow being 2 feet below the check-levee. They 
are capable of discharging 40 to 50 cubic feet per second, so that, with 
the gate from the other distributary, 8 cubic feet per second can be de- 
livered on the 20-acre check, which would cover it to the depth of 4 
inches in one hour; but it occupies about three hours, showing that 
there is a loss by absorption of 8 inches. As soon as this check is cov- 
ered, the side-gates are closed and the contour levee gate opened that 
passes the surplus water collected at the low part of the laud into the 
next check, so that the excess of water in the first is neither lost nor 
allowed to stand and injure the crop. This extra supply expedites the 
covering of the second check, of which the side-gates are now opened 
and the process repeated. 

Two or three checks are generally irrigated at the same time by one 
man. The checks that are below the drops in the distributaries, and 
cannot receive a supply from them, are irrigated from the check above, 
one or more extra levee-gates being inserted; the flooding of these 
checks, therefore, takes a longer time on account of the loss by absorp- 
tion ia passing through the upper check, consequently the checks below 
the drop should be of a less area than those receiving their supply di- 
rect from the distributary. The contour-levee gates should be put in 
on the higher points of the lower check, if possible, so that the water 
will flood this by flow instead of by inundation, which would require 
an increased depth of water over the whole check. The contour-levee 
gates have 4 feet waterway by 2 feet deep. These side-gates have fre- 
quently been washed out, although their floors are placed 12 inches be- 
low the surface, and have had to be protected down-stream by extend- 
ing the floor and packing with trash; sand-boxes placed on the down- 
stream side would be the best protection ; or, they should be widened 
and lengthened. 

Proposed lowering of Tulare Lake. — The character of the irrigation and 
engineering projects under discussion in California finds illustration in 
the following newspaper dispatch, sent from San Francisco under date 
of April 12, 1886: 

A company of capitalists is being formed to carry out one of the most important 
irrigation and transportation schemes ever projected in this State, which will solve 
the question of transportation in the Upper San Joaquin Valley and oj)en up nearly 
half a million of acres of laud which are now under water, and half a million more 
acres, which for want of water are now little better than a desert. 

It is proposed to permanently lower Tulare Lake to 15 feet below the 
present level, which will reclaim 375,000 acres, including swamp land, 
all now under water or subject to frequent overflow. This is to be ef- 
fected by a canal of 12 feet average depth, which is to extend from 
Tulare Lake to a junction with the San Joaquin Eiver at the head of 
navigation, distance about 40 miles north from the lake. The line of 
the canal will be through the present swamp which extends north from 
the lake. The level of the river at the junction is 48 feet below the 
level of the lake, and thus affords a sufficient fall for the discharge of 
the surplus water of the lake proposed to be drained. An additional 
outlet is also afforded by a projected west side irrigation scheme, which 
is to take water from the canal for the irrigation of over 400,000 acres 


of valley lauds, the proposed canal forming', with Tulare Lake, a con- 
tinuous inland water-way of over 70 miles. It is expected by its affluent 
discharge of water into the Upper San Joaquin River to so improve 
navigation as to utilize it for heavy freight. It is estimated that owing 
to the slope of land and favorable character of the soil the work can be 
done in two years, at a cost of only 1,000,000. 

The Bear Valley Reservoir.— The following is condensed from the San 
Bernardino Times, of October 16, 1884: 

A darn lias been built at the bead of Bear Creek for tbe purpose of own verting Bear 
Valley into a reservoir for tbe storage of winter water. 

Tbe property was purcbased for $22,500 ; in addition to tbis 700 acres of Government 
and railroad land were purcbased, making 4,000 acres in all, and giving control of 
tbe wbole valley. 

The stock was divided into thirty-six parts, and the company was a partnership 
affair. It was incorporated with 3,600 shares, each representing 1 inch of water. 
Work was begun on the dam on September 27, 1883, and continued until November 
17, at which time 250 yards of masonry had been put in place. On July 3, 1884, 
work was resumed with a large force of bauds, and tbe dam has rapidly assumed 
shape and size, and by the 1st of December will be completed. Tbe dam is very 
favorably located at the outlet of Bear Valley into Bear Creek, which empties into 
the Santa Ana, about 5 miles below. Tbe valley is surrounded by mountains and 
has no other outlet but this, which here is very narrow, with precipitous rocky sides. 
Into the solid rocks of this gorge the dam is abutted, and is built in a curve arching 
inward, forming the arc of a circle, with a diameter of 335 feet. Its dimensions are 
on the top 300 feet from abutments, 60 feet from the bed-rock of the creek in the 
highest point, and conforming to the mountain slope on either side. The foundation 
is 17 feet in width, running up to 3 feet on the top, which is covered with huge blocks 
for coping. 

The whole is built of vast granite blocks, which are quarried near the margin of 
the lake, and floated to the wall on scows, while a derrick built on a floating raft 
takes them and places them in position. The best quality of Portland cement is used 
for laying them, and all the interstices are filled with beton, which is thoroughly 
tamped into place, until the whole structure is one homogeneous mass. There are 
3,304 yards of rock-work, on which 1,300 barrels of cement have been used. The 
cement is the most expensive portion of the work, being hauled over the rough 
mountain roads from Colton. Tbe freight on it alone from Colton costs more than its 
purchase-price and freight from England to Colton. 

Beneath the dam is a stone culvert for the outlet. This is closed by a gate 21 by 
24 inches, capable of discharging 8,000 inches of water, which runs into a weir, where 
the flow can be measured in inches. This gate and weir regulate the How of water. 
On one side of the dam a channel over solid rock is provided for the overflow of the 
surplus water. This is some 4 feet lower than the top of the dam, and affords ample 
discharge for the superabundant water. 

The lake formed by the, dam will extend back into Bear Valley over 5 miles, with 
an average width of nearly a mile, and a depth of 12 feet, and will contain the enor- 
mous amount of 8,000,000,000 gallons. To supply this the valley furnishes over 60 
square miles of drainage area, on which falls three times the amount of water the 
valley itself receives. The rainfall for Bear Valley this season was over 100* inches, 
and the probable average will be over 35 inches per season. All the rain that falls 
over this area finds its way into the lake. The stratifications of the mountains all 
trend toward the valley, and seepage is impossible, while the highest temperature 
this past summer was 84, and the average for the hottest part of tbe day 76 degrees. 
Under these conditions evaporation is reduced to a minimum, and all the winter pre- 
cipitation will be saved for summer use. 

The lake covers 2,000 acres of land with its depth of 12 feet, and from it can be 
drawn during the summer months, for irrigating, for 100 days and nights, a continuous 
stream of 6,000 inches without even then exhausting the supply. It is not proposed, 
however, to draw off more than 3,600 inches, the balance being left for a reserve in 
case of a drought, when it may be needed. To give some idea of what these 3,600 
inches can accomplish, it is only necessary to know that it is more water than was 
furnished during the season of 1883 by all the streams of the county combined, of 
wbichthe following is an estimate: Santa Ana, 650; Mill Creek, 400; Eiverside Canal, 

* Rainfall in San Bernardino Valley below, for the same season, about 38^ inches. 
Rainfall in season of 1884-'85 ? Bear Valley, 20 inches; San Bernardino Valley, 10 


1,000; Lytle Creek, 300; Etiwanda, 200; Ontario, 200; total, 2,750. Tliis estimate is 
on the basis of a dry season. 

Thus it will be seen that Bear Valley, with its 3,600 inches, will make possible the 
doubling of the arable land of San Bernardino Valley, and the doubling or even treb- 
ling of the population and the increase of wealth which population brings. 

In the construction of this work Mr. Brown, tbe engineer, has exhibited a vast 
amount of enterprise, labor, and skill. To ascertain the amount of water actually 
ilowing into the Santa Ana River and Bear Creek, last year, in September, simulta- 
neous measurements were taken at eight stations every hour, day and night, for 
three days. All of these were kept and recorded for future use, in order to allow the 
owners of this water all that they are entitled to, the compauy claiming only what 
they save during the winter months. To facilitate the work a natural earth dam 
across the valley confined the waters of last winter; and when the dam had reached 
a sufficient height to warrant it, some of this water from the upper lake was dis- 
charged into the lower one, and scows, rafts, and boats were built for hauling stone 
and sand and other material, which saved an enormous expense in teaming. Work 
shops, boarding houses, sleeping apartments, &c, were erected for the men, and 
everything that would facilitate the work and at the same time reduce the cost was 

The cost of the dam proper will not exceed $50,000, and the whole property not over 
$ 75,000, the whole owned by our citizens, and mostly by land owners who will use 
their water on their own lauds. Considering what this work will do, the outlay is 
very small. 

The company have now under consideration the construction of a flume from Bear 
Valley to this (San Bernardino) valley. They have acquired a vast body of most ex- 
cellent timber, which by means of a rlumc, not costing over $30,000, can be laid down 
here in the shape of lumber and firewood at much less than the present cost of tbose 
articles. Should additional storage room ever be required the present dam could be 
enlarged and raised some 40 feet higher, without great additional cost, and the storage 
capacity thus increased four-fold. 


The Department desiring; practical information, showing what has 
been or is being accomplished in the matter of irrigation and its effect 
in the way of reclamation, production, climatic changes, or other re- 
sults, addressed inquiries to ail persons known or understood to be ac- 
quainted with or interested in the subject matter of this investigation. 

J u addition to a large number of personal letters, several circulars 
were printed and hundreds of copies were sent to land owners, colonists, 
farmers, engineers, editors, and other persons within the States of Cali- 
fornia, Colorado, Kansas, Nevada, Texas, and Oregon, and also in the 
Territories of Wyoming, New Mexico, Montana, Utah, Idaho, and Ari- 
zona, as well as to authorities in Mexico. The results of these inquiries 
are embodied in the following carefully collated replies : 


(1) Give location, geographical and postal, of your colony or enterprise, area thereof , past 
and present, and any facts bearing thereon ; also size of colony, farms, and ranches. 

George B. Otis, Selma, Fresno County, writes as follows : 

Selma is not a colony, hut a central point or town, huilt up hy independent irriga- 
tion canals and individual irrigators. 

The water supply is entirely free from any monopoly control, heing in the hands of 
;i joint-stock corporation, the stock of which is owned, principally hy settlers. The 
area contributory is about 10 miles east, 5 miles south, 12 miles west, and 5 miles 
north. It is 15 miles southeast from Fresno City, the county seat of Fresno County. 
Geographically, it is near the center of the delta of King's River, and midway of the 
great San Joaquin Valley. 

From Fresno, Frank Dacy writes : 

Township, 15 south, of range 22 east, :?G sections, occupied by me in 1870 as a sheep 
range, and was to all appearance a barren waste. Four years later land was selling 
at $2.50 per acre. 


In 1875 a small irrigating ditch from King's River made the soil produce beyond all 
expectation ; result, all the Government lands were taken by settlers. In 1880 wo 
brought in the Fowler Switch Canal, 40 feet on the bottom, 60 feet on top, 5 feet 
deep, and 28 miles long, terminating at section 36, in township 15 south, of vO east, 
Mount Drohlo base and meridian. 

From Fresno, Cory, Braley & Harvey, agents for Washington Irriga- 
tion Colony, write : 

Washington Irrigation Colony is situated 4 miles south of the town of Fresno, 
county of Fresno. The colony contains 7,000 acres, laid out in avenues. Each farm 
contains 20 acres, and has a large supply ditch, which carries the water to the highest 
point on the land. 

From Fresno, Col. W. H. Ingels, secretary Fresno Canal and Irrigat- 
ing Company, writes : 

Our canals are situated in Fresno County, California ; post-office address, Fresno 
City, Cal. The section is largely arranged on the colony plan, being divided into 10 
and 20-acre lots, akhoug»h we have a great many larger tracts of, say, from 160 to 
400 acres in vineyards, orchards, &c. 

From J. W. North, manager Washington Irrigating Colony, Fresno, 
Cal., the following reply came : 

The Washington Irrigating Colony is located southeast of Fresno City, Cal., and 
is 5 miles distant from that town. It has two post-offices, Easton and Oleander. It 
contains 7,040 acres, and is settled in small farms of from 20 to 80 acres. Fruit and 
grape culture the chief business. 

P a Y. Baker, originator of the 7 7G canal enterprise, writes : 

It is in Fresno and Tulare Counties. Post-office is Traver, Cal. Area, 200,000 
acres. Colony lots contain from 10 to 40 acres. They are gradually changing from 
cereals to fruit and alfalfa pasturage. 

There are 3,000 acres, divided into colony lots. 

Louis Walker, superintendent Moore Ditch Company, writes from 
Yolo County as follows : 

This ditch was dug in the year 1856 by James Moore, and has been in use ever since 
for irrigating purposes. It is used during the summer months for irrigating vine- 
yards, fruit trees, alfalfa, &c. ; post-office address, Woodland, Yolo County, Cali- 

From Banning, San Bernardino County, a correspondent writes: 

Location, Banning, San Bernardino County, California ; post-office, Banning ; area, 
6,000 acres, cut up into plats of 2-J, 5, and 10 acres ; blocks for sale. 

H. Baecht writes from Glivenheim,Encinitos, San Bernardino County, 
as follows : 

The colony of Olivenheim consists of 450 acres of laud situated in the valley of the 
San Elijo Creek, about 3 miles from its mouth, and forming a part of the Encinitos 
Grant. The land was originally divided into 5-acre blocks. 

From Lugonia, San Bernardino County, a correspondent writes : 

Lugonia is located 8 miles southeast of San Bernardino, the county seat of that 
county, at the eastern terminus of the valley of the same name, and near the head- 
waters of the Santa Ana River and Mill Creek, where they debouch into the valley 
which extends to the Pacific Ocean, a distance of 60 miles. The local names given 
the four settlements adjoining are: Grafton, Brookside, Lugonia, and Redlands. 
They are distant from the depot on Southern Pacific Railroad from 2 to 5 miles, and 
are all supplied with daily mail and telephone. The valley at this point has a width 
of about 6 miles, and an elevation of about 2,000 feet above sea level. The age of 
these settlement varies from five to twenty years. The lauds are mostly subdivided 
and for sale in small tracts. 

From Tulare County, Elias Jacobs writes in reply : 

Within 15 miles east of Visalia the waters of the Kaweah have been so utilized as 
to form a cluster of colonies, extending westerly to the banks of King's River. The 
main streams are utilized as carriers. Branches of canals wind their way along the 
high ridges, thus supplying the farms and colonies. In size they range from 20 to 
400 acres. 


S. F. Earl, secretary of the '7G Land and Water Company, Traver, 
Tulare County, writes: 

This is about the center ol" California. The post-offices are at Traver aud Center- 
s' i lie, 25 miles north and south, by 12 miles east and west. The colony lots are from 
■"> to 20 acres each. Farms are from 40 acres to several sections, mostly in 160-aere 

S. E. Biddle, Hanford, Tulare County, writes as follows: 

The Mussel Slough irrigation district is situated in the northwestern portion of Tu- 
lare County. 

C. I. Hopkins, Pasadena, Los Angeles County, replies as follows : 

The settlement of Pasadena includes in all about 4,500 acres. It is situated on a 
mesa or bench at the southern foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains, at the western 
end and terminal of the San Gabriel Valley. Its post-office is Pasadena, Los Angeles 
County. It is cut up into small holdings from half an acre to 80 acres each, the great 
majority being 5 and 10 acre lots. Elevation from 800 to 1,500 feet above tide water. 
It is all irrigated by mountain water conveyed in many miles of wrought-iron pipes, 
from 10 inches to 1 inch in diameter. All its agriculture depends on irrigation, except 
grapes, aud grain or hay crops. 

Richard Melrose, Secretary Anaheim Union AVater Company, writes: 

Anaheim is in Los Angeles County. Irrigation began in 1858. Area of territory 
then irrigated 1,200 acres. Now district comprises 12,000 acres ; actual area irrigated, 
7,000 acres. 

Messrs. Judson & Brown, Eedlands, San Bernardino County, in reply, 
sends maps, and says : 

Redlands is in San Bernardino County. It contains 2,500 acres. The average size 
of farms is 12| acres. The altitude, 1,500 feet. It is distant from the Pacific Ocean 
70 miles. Sea breezes prevail in summer, with a mountain wind from the east at 
night. Frost not severe enough to injure young orange trees. No noxious insects. 
The projectors of the Redlands Colony owned 2,500 acres, but there are 3,500 more 
contiguous, making 6,000 acres in all. 

H. Y. Stanley, secretary Arroyo Grande Water Company, San Luis 
Obispo, replies as follows : 

The Arroyo Grande Water Company is the name of our small company, and the 
lands irrigated are located in the Valley of Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo County. 
Longitude, about 119° west; latitude, about 35° 20' north. Our post-office address 
is Arroyo Graode. A portion only of the valley is covered by the ditches of the com- 
pany. The ranches vary from 1 acre to 60 acres. The company has been in existence 
three years. 

A. G. Adams, National City post-office, San Diego Bay, replies as 
follows : 

Our post-office is National City. Our enterprise is the Rancho de la Nacion, or Na- 
tional Ranche, situated on the east shore of San Diego Bay, beginning at a point north 
of midway of the bay and extending southward to a point near the head of the bay. 
Rancho is'not strictly a colony. It occupies 42 square miles. Has now a population 
of about twenty-five hundred people, located mostly on small ranches of from 5 to 20 

(2) Original value of land per acre ; pre sent selling price ; slate whether the purchas e 
of land carries water also ; if not, give rent or price of latter per acre. 

From Banning, San Bernardino County, a correspondent replies : 

The original value was from $2.50 to $50 per acre. The selling price for land and 
water delivered on each lot is now $150 per acre. Water at rate of 1 inch to each 6 

Messrs. Judson & Brown, Eedlands, San Bernardino County, write : 

The original cost was from $2.50 to $25, without water. Present selling price is 
from $100 to $200 per acre, with water, 


From Lugonia, San Bernardino County, a correspondent writes : 

The lands of this location in 1873 were sold from Government prices up to $6 per 
acre. The present selling price, with water, is from $100 to $200 per acre, depending 
upon location and quantity sold in one body. . • 

H. Baecht, Olivenheiin, Encinitos, writes: 

The land was purchased by the colony for $15 per acre. It is now held at $40. 
There is abundance of water "in the valley, but no system of irrigation has yet been 

George B. Otis, Selma, Fresno County : 

In 1877 the lands were considered worthless, or lit only for roving bands of stock. 
Irrigated land in 1886 is worth from $30 to $75 per acre. Land and water are pur- 
chasable separately. The water rental varies, and is constantly decreasing. It is less 
used for irrigating year after year. 

J. W. North, manager Washington Irrigating Colony, Fresno County, 


The original value of land was $5 per acre ; the present price, unimproved, is $50 per 
acre. The purchase of land carries water also, except that there is an annual water- 
tax of 62-} cents per acre. 

A. Gc Adams, National City post-office, San Diego Bay, replies : 

Original value of first purchase was about $3 per acre. Land now brings from $15 
to $500 per acre, according to location. The average price is about $100 per acre. 
Every purchaser has complete and independent control of his own water privileges. 

H. Y. Stanley, secretary Arroyo Grande Water Company, San Luis 
Obispo County, replies : 

Land, at the time of the formation of this company, was selling at about $100 per 
acre. The water stock belongs to the land, and sale of land carries with it the stock. 

C. Y. Hopkins, Pasadena, Los Angeles County, replies as follows : 

The original price, ten years ago, was from $8 to $13 per acre. The present selling 
price, according to location and improvements, from $150 to $2,000 per acre. Pur- 
chases of land always include water rights, as no water can be obtained from wells, 
or by boring. No water rented. 

Bichard Melrose, secretary Anaheim Union Water Company, writes : 

In 18S8 land sold at $2 per acre, in 1886 at from $100 to $150 per acre, including 
water stock, one share to the acre. 

S. E. Biddle, Harford, Tulare County, replies: 

The original value of the land was not to exceed $2.50 per acre, and it ranges now 
from $20 to $100. Water rights generally go with the sale of the land ; otherwise the 
cost per acre for irrigation does not exceed $1. 

S. F. Earl, secretary 7 7G Land and Water Company, Traver, Tulare 
County, says : 

Original value of land from $1.25 to $50 per acre. All land owned by the '76 Land 
and Water Company, and many outside lands, are covered with water rights. 

Elias Jacobs, Tulare County, writes in reply: 

Land is worth from $2 to $5 per acre ; after irrigation, from $15 to $100, exclusive 
of water, which is obtained at a rental ranging from $1 to $1.50 per acre. The season 
governs the value of the water. 

P. Y. Butler, originator 76 Land and Water Company, writes from 
Traver, Tulare County : 

When the canal was started land sold at an average of $3.50 per acre j that was in 
the spring of 1882. The same land now averages about $20 per acre. 

The purchase of laud carries water with it. The annual assessment on the same is 
50 cents per acre. 

S. Mis. 15 5 


Lewis Walker, superintendent Moore Ditch Company, Yolo County, 
replies to the above : 

Land from 1856 to 1865 would not exceed from $5 to $7 per acre, and no sale for it at 
ih;n% in money. All land that is now reached by this ditch will readily bring from 
$i00 to $150, much of it still higher, even with no improvements. The finest grape 
and fruit land in the world lies in this belt. This is without water right, as the 
water right is private property. 

Cory, Braley & Harvey, agents Washington Irrigating Colony, Fresno, 

say : 

Before the water was brought to it the land sold at $5 per acre. Present price is 
$30 per acre. 

W. H. Ingels, secretary Fresno Canal and Irrigating Company, Fresno, 

says : 

Before water was brought to it the land was considered worthless, and was sold at 
$1.10 per acre. Now irrigated portions sell at about $30 to $50. If water is bought 
and located on land it is then transferable with it. Oar canal rents no water, though 
the canals lower down on the river rent it at about 50 cents an acre per annum. 

Frank Daey, Fresno, writes: 

Government price, $1.25 per acre. It now sells from $15 to $50, according to soil 
and location. The rent is about $2 per acre, without, and $4 with water. 

(3) Products of land: amount market and average value of crops ; how long planted. 

Are fruits grown ? 

From Banning, San Bernardino County, comes this reply : 

Nothing yet bearing to amount to much, as the colony is only one and a half years 

From Judson & Brown, Bediands, San Bernardino County : 

Oranges, lemons, grapes (raisin), peaches, apricots, pears, &c. Barley on land that 
awaits water, to be devoted in future to fruits. Fruits planted from one to four years; 
colony organized November, 1881, and first planting made in 1882. Too young to 
make mention of crops, although orange trees are j ust beginning to bear. 

From Lugonia, San Bernardino County, a correspondent writes : 

The products of the land embrace all varieties of vegetables, grain, and alfalfa (Chil- 
ian clover), all varieties of deciduous fruit, and nearly all the varieties of citrous 
fruit; also the wine and raisin grape, and the olive. The average value of the decid- 
uous fruit crop per acre in full bearing is $100. The raisin grape and the orange 
often exceed this amount by one-half. 

The above returns are based upon actual sales for a term of years. The sale of or- 
chard products is usually made to local dealers, to whom the fruit is delivered in the 
orchard, or at the railroad depot. 

H. Baecht, Olivenheim, Encinitos Colony, San Bernandino County, 
writes : 
This colony has been in existence for only part of a year. 
George B. Otis, Selma, Fresno County, says : 

Everything semi-tropical or temperate, fruits, grains, nuts, roots, vines, figs. Too 
much liability of frost to raise -oranges, limes, or lemons. The wheat acreage and 
product are constantly increasing, and quality of grain grown is better for milling. 
Irrigation is moistening the air and softening the flinty nature of the grain. 

I. W. North, manager of the Washington Irrigating Colony, Fresno 
County, writes : 
Fruit and vines; average value of fruit and grape crop from $50 to $100 per acre. 

Cory, Braley & Harvey, agents of the Washington Irrigating Colony, 
Fresno County, send the following : 


Raisin vines planted from one to six years. Five year old vines yield one and 
a half tons of raisins, which sell for $200 a ton. Fruits are grown to great perfection. 

Frank Dacy, Fresno, California, writes as follows : 

Wheat, barley, and Egyptian corn are grown. The present value of wheat and 
barley is H cents per pound. Corn is $1.25 per 100 pounds. Wheat and barley will 
average about 20 bushels per acre, and corn about 40 bushels. 

All' fruits are grown in large quantities. The sweet potato, yam, and watermelon 
grow prolitically. Our raisin and wine grape cannot be surpassed. 

A. G. Adams, National City, San Diego Bay, says : 

The products cover a long list of grain and fruits, but the most successful is the 
fruit and vegetable crop. This includes all the vegetables, the orange, lemon, lime, 
and other citrous fruits, the olive, the fig, all varieties of grapes, and the peach, 
apricot, prune, and apple. 

H. Y. Stanley, secretary of Arroyo Grande Water Company, San 
Litis Obispo, replies : 

The principal product of this valley is beans, which vary in amount per acre from 
1,500 to 5, r- 00 pounds, according to season and locality. The price is from $1.25 to 
$3.50 per cental in different years. 

All kinds of fruits, including semi-tropical, grow well, especially small fruits. 
Our vegetables of all descriptions cannot be excelled anywhere. The bean crop is 
planted^ in April and May, and harvested in September and October. It is not irri- 
gated after being rdanted. 

O. T. Hopkins, Pasadena, Los Angeles County, writes as follows : 

Oranges, lemons, limes, grapes, grain, hay, apples, peaches, ax>ricots, all kinds of 
deciduous and citrous fruits. 

The oldest plantations are not more than ten years old ; consequently no planta- 
tions are yet in lull bearing, and "market and average value of crops" cannot be 
stated. In a few years more we expect to realize from $50 to $100 per acre from 
grapes, and from $100 to $'300 per acre from citrous fruits and deciduous orchards. 

Bichard Melrose, secretary Anaheim Union Water Company, writes: 

Irrigable lands are used mostly for the production of wine and raisin grapes, 
oranges and lemons. Some of the vine area was planted in 1858. The bulk of the 
vines and trees has been planted within the past ten years. 

S. E. Biddle, Hanford, Tulare County, writes in reply : 

Grain, potatoes, fruit, and hay, principally grown from alfalfa (Lucerne). The 
products in every thing are unequalled. Raisins are so far the most proiitable in 
the fruit line. Hay fed to stock stands next; in fact, all products pay very hand- 

Elias Jacobs, Tulare County, writes : 

Grain of every description; of grasses, alfalfa chiefly. The value of crops of every 
description for the year 1885 was upwards of $1,000,000. Fruits are of eight years 
growth ; grain some ten or twelve years. 

P. Y. Baker, originator '76 Land and Water Company, writes from 
Traver, Tulare County: 

Wheat, oats, barley, Indian corn and dura, beans, potatoes, rye, alfalfa, all kinds 
of fruit, including citrous fruits. The raisin and wine grapes attain the greatest 
.perfection here. Most fruits are just coining into bearing. Our grain products for 
the coming harvest are estimated to be about 2,000,000 centals, valued at about 

$3,000,000. - 

Lewis Walker, superintendent of the Moore Ditch Company, Wood- 
land, Yolo County, writes : 

Grain of all kinds, except, perhaps, corn, is grown in abundance. Wheat produces 
as high as 40 bushels per acre; an average crop is about 30 bushels- Alfalfa is the 
most profitable, as three crops of hay can be taken from the land in one summer, 
when it has been properly irrigated once or twice during the season. The finest 
grapes for raisin making are grown here, and the land is becoming so valuable for 


fruits and vineyards that each year large tracts are set in vines, aluionds, figs, ai>ri- 
COts, and peaches. 

(4) Extent of irrigation worlcs and their character, source of supply, method of distribution' 1 

cost and value of irrigation works, amount available at present and prospectively, nature 
of work*, service per acre, any general facts showing extent of works, land areas, irrigable 
or non-irrigable, occupied for cultivation, used for cattle and sheep, tyc. 

From Banningj San Bernardino County, California, comes the fol- 
lowing : 

There are 5 miles of stone and cement ditching, with flumes and open ditches for 
about 20 miles. The cost of irrigation works up to this date is $15,000. We are con- 
stantly carrying on the work. Available water is now 1,000 inches; prospective, 
2,000 inches, distributed at the rate of 1 inch to six acres. 

Messrs. Judson & Brown replied to Fo. 4 from Redlands, San Ber- 
nardino County, as follows : 

The irrigating works consist of a reservoir, covering some 20 acres of ground, and 
about 12 miles of cement pipe for distributing the water, with small reservoirs scat- 
tered over the tract, for dividing the same and sending it down the different lines of 
pipe. Water is taken from the main reservoir by means of iron discharge pipes, with 
valves. There are, in addition to the above, some 7 miles of stone-paved and ce- 
mented ditches to conduct water from the mountain canons to the main reservoir. 
The colony has also a leading interest in the Bear Valley Reservoir. 

From Lugonia, San Bernardino County, a correspondent writes: 

The irrigation works consist of four canals orzanjas, of from 6 to 10 miles in length, 
a portion of which is rock-lined and cemented. The source of the water supply is the 
Sierra Range of mountains, designated at this point as the San Bernardino. The 
method of distributing the water is by turns, or in rotation, or by the inch. The cost 
of the works will aggregate .$50,000. The amount of water available at present is 
about 3,000 iuches prospectively, and by reservoiring treble this amount, or an almost 
unlimited supply, can be obtained. A reservoir of 1,000 acres is already being util- 

Frank Dacy, Fresno County, replies : 

We have three large canals between Big Dry Creek and King's River. All the 
supply is drawn from King's River. The Fowler Switch and Kingsbury Canal is 
owned by the farmers. Each man has the water turned by the superintendent at 
any point. The other canal is a speculative affair, and. charges $100 for annual rent, 
and renters have no control of management. 

Cory, Braly & Harvey, Fresno, Washington Colony, write : 

The water for the ditches comes from the snow -sheds of the Sierra Nevada Mount" 
a ins. It is tapped at the mouth of King's River, and conducted a distance of 20 mile s 
to the Washington Colony. These ditches are abundantly supplied with water availa" 
ble for the country through which they pass. 

George B. Otis, Selma, Fresno County, writes : 

The Fowler Switch Canal, and the C. and K. Main Canals, 18 miles for the latter, 
and 24 miles for the former, with lateral branches, side-ditches, and waste-ways, will 
aggregate 100 miles each. The Fowler Switch Canal cost $90,000. C. and K. Canals 
cost $40,000. 

T. W. iSorth, manager of the Washington Irrigating Colony, Fresno, 
writes : 

All the land of the colony is irrigable, and all has a water right. The proprietor of 
the colony constructed the canals, and purchased from the Fresno Canal and Irrigat- 
ing Company water rights for the whole colony at $5 per acre. The canal cost $3(5,000. 
The water is brought from King's River, more than 20 miles. The water right is esti- 
mated at 1 cubic foot per second for 1G0 acres, and it is sufficient. 

S. F. Earl, secretary '76 Land and Water Company, Traver, Tulare 
County, writes: 

There are 23 miles in a 100-foot canal, 14 miles in a 60-foot canal, 10 miles in a 20- 
fool canal, and JO miles in a 10-foot canal, and many lateral ditches. There are about 
20 miles of a 20-foot ditch in course of construction. There have been about $250,000 
expended . 



Lewis Walker, superintendent Moore Ditch Company, Woodland, 
Yolo County, writes: 

The water used for the supply of the above ditch is taken from Cache Creek, a fine 
stream of water which heads at Clear Lake, in the Coast Range of mountains, running 
east, and emptying into the Sacramento River. The cost of the dam on this stream 
was about $25,000, while the ditches and branches probably cost $50,000. It costs from 
$2 to $3 per acre to irrigate land. All laud accessible to this ditch is in cultivation, 
none being used for cattle or sheep. 

Eicbard Melrose, secretary Anaheim Union Water Company, Los 
Angeles County, writes : 

The Anaheim Union Water Company has 25 miles of main canals and 60 miles of 
branch ditches. Cost over a quarter million dollars, but could be replaced for $126,000. 
It is supplied from Santa Ana River, distributed through branch ditches to lands of 
irrigators from 4,000 inches in winter to 500 inches in summer ; service per acre varies 
very considerably with character of soil; semi-sandy soil will take 100 inches to the 
acre for a half hour; stiff soil half that quantity. 

C. I. Hopkins, Pasadena, Los Angeles County, writes: 

No irrigated land is used for cattle or sheep. The source of supply is in the Arroyo 
Seco. The water is brought in a cement ditch, 3 miles long, terminating in a reser- 
voir, and is thence distributed in iron pipes. Other works bring water from moun- 
tain canons, where every drop is utilized by tunnels, &c. Water stock is owned by 
several corporations, geographically segregated, and water is distributed to stock 
owned and in proportion to land owned. One hundred and fifty thousand dollars hav e 
been- so far spent, and the sum is annually increased as population demands. Water 
is invaluable. It is worth, when impounded in suitable works, $1,000 per square inch 
iu a section flowing without pressure. 

H. Y. Stanley, secretary Arroyo Grande Water Company, San Luis 
Obispo, writes: 

Our ditches are 10 miles in length ; some are flumed. There are two dams in the 
Arroyo Grande Creek. One reservoir covers some 2 acres of land. The cost has not 
exceeded $4,000, and covers 2,000 acres of land that could be irrigated. 

A. G. Adams, National City, San Diego Bay, writes: 

That portion given to sheep, cattle, &c, is dependent on winter rains; except in the 
valleys adapted to alfalfa and evergreen millet. Irrigation is carried otnentirely by 
means of wells, with the aid of wind-mills; the regular sea breezes make this a safe 
and practicable process. It is distributed by means of pipes and ditches, from reser- 
voirs constructed for the convenience of the farm. The nature of the soil is such that 
fruit trees need but little water during the dry seasons. 

(5) Climatic conditions, temperature, and rainfall; results of observations, if any, as to 
the influence of irrigation or moisture of the earth or sky ; effects of irrigation on health, 
fertility of soil, tjo. ; 

A. G. Adams, National City, San Diego Bay, writes: 

No perceptible change in the climate, as regards rainfall, has been brought about 
by irrigation. Annexed is a table embracing the Signal Service observations. Table 
shQwing inches of rainfall on San Diego Bay during each rainy season (October to 
March, inclusive), from 1871 to 1882, inclusive: 





















, 45 

2." 25' 


2. 44 





1. 45 







1. 50 















2. 55 

Totals for rainy seasons. - 




5. 16 

9. 35 




13. 02 

7. SI 


To which maybe appended f" 1833: Rainfall, 4.56; for 1884, "28"; 1885-'86,6.68. 


Our process of irrigation is cheaper than any other, and is adapted to small farms. 

Our ranche is, to a great extent, owned by a company organized from stockholders 
of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. They have not organized any system 
of irrigation. An artesian well is being sunk ; it is now down GOO feet. Other ex- 
periments are being tried. 

H. Y. Stanley, secretary Arroyo Grande Water Company, San Luis 
Obispo, writes : 

As to the climate, the temperature is even ; in some winters tbere is no frost. Sum- 
mers are cool and pleasant. Late in summer and fall it is foggy. Average rainfall 17 
inches. We don't irrigate for crops more than one year in three, and then before 
planting. The water is hard and is not considered very good for the soil. The evap- 
oration is not rapid, and if the surface is cultivated, tbe health of the community is 
not affected by the amount of water used. 

From Banning, San Bernardino County, a correspondent writes : 

Conditions are good ; temperature 34° to 120°. The average precipitation for ten 
years is 11 inches per annum, and drainage is good; consequently it is very healthy 
here. Region is especially recommended for all bronchial troubles. 

C. T. Hopkins, Pasadena, Los Angeles County, writes : 

We have rains varying from 7 to 54 inches annually between December and March. 
The average temperature 52° ; lowest, 32°, resulting in a few white frosts in wet sea- 
son. The highest 110°. Probably thirty hot days in a year : six to ten days at a time 
in March, August, and September. We have no shallow stagnant water and no ma- 

Richard Melrose, secretary Anaheim Union Water Company, writes: 

Temperature is mild in winter, and not unpleasantly warm in summer. Rainfall 
very uncertain, but not much needed. An average of 9 inches would insure good 
cereal crops. Irrigation has no effect on moisture of the earth or sky. It has no un- 
healthy effects, as the soil that requires irrigation here has perfect drainage. It in- 
creases the fertility of the soil, and winter water is used less for the moisture than 
for the fertilizing mud it contains. 

S. E. Biddle, from Hanford, Tulare County, writes : 

The climatic conditions are improved in summer, being cooler. We think the rain- 
fall has been increased by irrigation. There are no perceptible changes in the health 
so far, i. e., within ten to twelve years. Alkaline matter seems to have been forced 
to the surface by irrigation in a small portion of the district, but not enough to cause 
any alarm yet ; there is some doubt about this matter in the future. 

S. F. Earl, secretary '76 Land and Water Company, Traver, Tulare 
County, writes : 

Temperature from 20° above zero, to 110° above zero. Eainfall from 9 to 16 inches, 
observations : The more we irrigate the greater the rainfall. The water from the 
mountains is a great fertilizer. 

P. Y. Baker, 76 Land and Water Company, Traver, Tulare County, 
writes : 

Summer warm and dry ; cool nights ; winters cool, occasionally light frosts. Tem- 
perature as low sometimes as 20° but not often; maximum in summer, 85°. Irriga- 
tion has doubled the annual rainfall. No injurious effects to health, as we have good 
drainage. Fertility increased productiveness four-fold. 

Lewis Walker, superintendent Moore Ditch Company, Woodland, 
Yolo County, writes : 

The annual rainfall, which all, or nearly all, occurs between November and April, is 
from 12 inches in a dry year to 18 and 20 in wet seasons. So far as I know the irri- 
gation in the section embraced above does not affect the health of the people; still I 
have heard complaint in other sections of the State where irrigation is carried on 
that it produced fever and ague. The hotest weather in summer is 100° in this lo- 
cality, and the coolest in the winter is 28° to 30°. Of course the above are the ex- 
tremes, and only last a few days at a time. 


I. W. North, manager Washington Irrigating Colony, Fresno, writes : 

Climate mild; extreme heat 110° ; extreme cold 25°. In exceptional years the ther- 
mometer has indicated as high as 115°. No bad effects on health from irrigation ex- 
cept from neglect. Fertility increased. The land below surface fills up with water 
gradually, being now only 8 feet down where it used to be 50. Irrigation is stopped 
when water is only 8 feet from surface. Rainfall from 9 to 20 inches. Moisture of 
atmosphere is increased by irrigation. 

George B. Otis, Selma, Fresno County; 

Warm, warmer; hot, hotter ; sometimes to 110°, and yet not a debilitating heat; dry, 
and therefore not exhausting like moist heat. No sunstroke ; rainfall, variable ; less 
rain, more canal work ; greater independence from possible droughts; no failure of 
crops on irrigated land. Fertility of soil is increasing ; absorbent in its character, 
the sand becomes a rich vegetable mold. 

Cory, Braley & Harvey, agents for Washington Irrigating Colony, say: 

Climate semi-tropical ; health good with due care. Malaria unknown. Ditches carry 
water to every 20-acre lot by process of subirrigation, which renders surface irriga- 
tion unnecessary and undesirable. 

W. A. Ingels, secretary Fresno Canal Irrigating Company, says : 

Formerly very dry ; since irrigation, and since trees have grown, rain falls more plen- 
tifully. Temperature, from 28° in winter to 115° in summer, though these points are 
rarely reached. New lands, when irrigated, have a tendency to cause chills and fever, 
but not to any great extent. 

Frank Daey, Fresno, writes : 

Temperature in winter, lowest 24°, average 30° ; in summer, highest 103°. Rainfall 
from 4 to 26 inches. The earth is filling up and low depressions are forming. The 
water at my place has risen 28 feet. The effect on health is to produce fever and 
ague in some localities. 

General notes. — Frank Dacy, from Fresno, states cost of canals and 
other irrigating excavations, &c, to be $160,000, and in addition to the 
Fowler Ditch there are other private ditches leading from the main ditch, 
the whole cost of which would be probably $150,000, making a total of 

Judge J. W. North, manager Washington Irrigating Colony, Fresno 
County, writes : 

This county is in the great San Joaquin Valley, and has over 2,000,000 acres valley 
land, nearly all irrigable. Without irrigation it rents for pasturage at 10 cents per 
acre. In fruits and vines it often produces more than $100 per acre. 

All the land of the colony is irrigable, and all has a water right. The land pro- 
prietor constructed the irrigating canals on the colony, and purchased from the Fresno 
Canal and Irrigation Company a water right for the entire colony at $5 per acre. The 
construction of the irrigating canals in the colony cost about $36,000. 

The water is brought by the Fresno Canal and Irrigation Company from King's 
Eiver — more than 20 miles — to the colony. The water right is estimated at 1 cubic 
foot per second for 160 acres. It is sufficient. Climate is mild; extreme heat in 
summer, 110° F. ; extreme of cold in winter, 25° F. In exceptional years it has been 
115Q of heat and 15° below the freezing point in winter. Other years it has only been 
down to 27° in winter. No bad effects on health from irrigation, except from neglect 
in keeping standing water. 

Fertility increased by irrigation. Eainfall from 9 to 20 inches. Moisture of at- 
mosphere perceptibly increased by irrigation. The land below the surface fills up 
with water gradually, so that it is now only 8 or 10 feet down to water, where it used 
to be 50. Irrigation is stopped when water is only 8 feet, from surface. 

This, Fresno County, is in the great San Joaquin Valley, and has over 2,000,000 of 
acres of valley land, nearly all irrigable. Without irrigation it rents for pasturage 
at 10 cents per acre. In vines and'fruits it; often produces mere than $100 per acre. 
The English common law of riparian rights, that England has long since discarded 
in all her irrigable provinces, is still an incubus and nightmare upon our legislators 
and courts. That " Patch-work of fifteen centuries," as Jeremy Bentham called it, 
is like an English fog — to obscure the vision of our judges and lawyers — and so it has 
hampered the irrigation of this arid c-ast as the same common law hampered all our 


fresli-water navigation in the United States for fifty years. When our Jaw-makers 
and courts shall become wise enough to make our laws synonymous with justice, and 
adapt them to our own time and our own eouutry, then we may hope for more rapid 
development of these irrigable lands. 

W. H. Ingels, secretary of the Fresno Canal and Irrigation Com- 
pany, writes as follows : 

Our water is taken from King's River, about 18 miles east from Fresno City, in a 
large ditch, with capacity to run about 1,000 cubic feet of water per second. From 
this large ditch it is taken by smaller ditches and distributed over the land. 

Our canals cover a territory of about. 600 square miles, although only a portion of 
that amount is irrigated. In time we think we can cover most of it, as the soil is fast, 
tilling up with water, and not. near so much water is used as at first. Water is sold 
at 1 he rate of $800 per 160 acres, with an annual payment of $100 in addition. Do not 
know what canals have cost, but they pay interest on about $250,000. This was for- 
merly a very dry country, but since it has been irrigated, and many trees, &c, have 
grown, rain seems to fall more plentifully. Temperature from 28° in winter to 115° 
in summer, although these points are rarely reached. When new land is irrigated 
it has a tendency to cause chills and fever, though not to any extent. Soil very 

The plan of irrigating the dry plains of Fresno County was conceived about fifteen 
years ago, Mr. M. J. Church, the present president of the Fresno Canal and Irriga- 
tion Company, who was one of the first promoters of the enterprise. At that time the 
plains were used only for pasture for cattle, sheep, &c, and amounted to but very 
little for that, as they were almost barren. Land could be had almost for the taking, 
while there was not a building where the thriving city of Fresno now stands. There 
are now from ten to fifteen large canals tapping King's River, although there has 
been almost endless litigation with the so-called riparian owners farther down the 
river. There has been a continual stream of immigration, which continues to the 
present time. During the winter and spring there is plenty of water in the river to 
supply all the canals, but during the latter part of the summer and fall the canals 
that have the prior appropriation are the only ones that get the water. 

P. T. Baker, of Fresno, the originator of the u 76" canal enterprise 
in that region, writes of it as follows : 

The '76 Land and Water Company was incorporated June 7, 1882, with capital for 
canal of $280,000, and 30,000 acres of land. We sell land on the installment plan, one- 
fourth down, balance in three years, at 8 per cent; interest. The canal is capable of 
serving a vast area of land in addition to our own. We sell water rights to outside 
parties for $5 per acre. These rights attach permanently to the land, and are assess- 
able to the extent of 50 cents per acre per annum. This covers the cost of repairs and 
distribution. We have sold 4,000 acres and rented 21,000 acres. The enhancement 
of values, by reason of the building of the canal, has more than paid for the land and 

King's River, from which our water supply js obtained, rises in the high sierras, in 
the Mount Whitney Range (the highest in the United States), having its source in 
natural reservoirs, vast snoAv-banks, which remain through most of the summer months 
but melt as the summer advances, thus insuring abundance of water most needed. 
Settlers are rapidly developing our vast resources. Our population has increased from 
about 800 to over 3,000 in two years. We have a country under one system of canals 
broad enough to sustain 50,000 people in the raisin, wine, and general fruit business. 

The '76 canal is 100 feet wide on bottom, side slopes 3 to 1, carries 4 feet deep; 
grade, 18 inches to the mile; with main canal and laterals it is about 200 miles long. 
We allow 1 inch per acre (miner's measure). The cost was $380^000. Our capacity is 
180,560 miner's inches. About 10,000 acres have been irrigated, and the works are 
being extended rapidly to cover more. 

The summer is warm and dry, with cool nights; the winters are cool, the thermom- 
eter occasionally (but not often) marking as low as 20° above zero. 

The maximum in summer is 85°. Irrigation has nearly doubled the annual rain- 
fall. There have been no injurious effects to health, "as we have good drainage. The 
fertility has increased productiveness four fold. 

Messrs. Cory, Braly, and Harvey, agents of the Washington Irriga- 
tion Colony, Fresno, write" as follows : 

The supply of water is abundant. The ditches which carry tie water to every 20- 
acre lot, supply by the process of sub-irrigation sufficient mo;.stare to render surface 
irrigation unnecessary and undesirable. Climate, semi- tropical ; health good, with 
due care; malaria unknown. Before water was placed on the plains of Fresno by 


Irrigating ditches the land for nine months in the year was a parched desert of no 
value. After six years we have a magnificent country abounding with trees and foli- 
age. Farmers on 20-acre places are making from $100 to $200 per acre. 

Elms Jacob writes from Tulare County : 

The supply of water is ample to irrigate every acre, except the foot-hill lands, and 
they could he supplied if a system of works were adopted. Where land has been irri - 
gated for five or six years, it no longer requires water. The soil has been entirely 
transformed. Owing to the peculiar character of soil the present imperfect system 
has proved adequate; but if a better system were adopted, one-third greater area 
could be reached with no greater quantity of water. 

From Lugouia, San Bernardino County, a correspondent writes: 

The fertility of the land is enhanced by the continued deposit of fertilizing matter, 
conveyed by water for irrigation, increasing its value largely over land not irrigated. 
The reservoir referred to in my reply to your question, contains 1,000 acres, and is 
located 17 miles above J he head of a ditch on Santa Ana River. The development of 
water by the artesian wells is being extensively conducted, resulting in a large flow 
of water from subterranean channels, amounting to 200 inches to a well at a depth of 
200 feet. This development is likely to raise a legal question as to the right apper- 
taining to prior development. 

Mr. N. M. Orr, secretary of board of trade, Stockon, writes as fol- 
lows : 

Excepting in unusually dry seasons good crops of grain can be raised throughout 
San Joaquin County. Therefore no general system of irrigation has been adopted, 
nor have any large canals or ditches been constructed for the purpose of conducting 
the water of the rivers out upon the plains for irrigation purposes. The water from 
the Calaveras River has been diverted during several dry seasons, and made to irrigate 
limited quantities of the adjacent land. While this county has no land so arid that 
crops cannot be raised in favorable seasons, the productive capacity of at least 300,000 
acres of its laud would be almost indefinitely increased by the adoption of a general 
system of irrigation. In the immediate vicinity of this city there are seven flowing 
artesian wells, the water of which is used for irrigation. 

These wells range from 900 to 1,200 feet in depth, are generally 8 inches in diameter, 
and give a flow of water ranging from 10,000 to 20,000 gallons of water per hour. 
From 50 to 100 acres of land can be irrigated from each well, and it is thereby made 
capable of producing a great variety of cnrps. 


Abbott Kenney, of Kanieboa, San Gabriel Valley, Los Angeles County, 
writes : 

The San Gabriel Valley contains several considerable colony irrigation enterprises ; 
others are being formed, and many independent water rights exist, or are used by 
three or four ranches in combination. The largest independent ranch is the u Santa 
Anita, 7 ' with, say, 20,000 acres subject to irrigation. Few of the independent ranches 
contain less than 200 acres, and the sizes range from this up to several thousand 
acres. The colony of "Pasadena," contains about 2,000 acres; the "Alhambra" 
about 1,000, the "Duarte" about 2,000 acres, the Aynsa 2,200, and the "Sierra Madre' 7 
1,000. In the San Gabriel Valley there are, including colonies and ranches, about 
100,000 acres in irrigation. The original value of land was $3 to $15 per acre; pres- 
ent price, $100 to $400 per acre. A young orange-grove near Pasadena Centre re- 
cently sold for $2,000 per acre. There were no buildings on the land. There is no 
system of renting water here. It is bought with the land in all colonies in this val- 
ley. A great deal of the water brought to the lands in this valley is used on orange 
and lemon trees, vegetables, walnuts, and alfalfa. Water is distributed for domestic 
purposes, and gardens in many places where deciduous fruits, such as apricots and 
peaches are grown. These fruits give good returns without irrigation, as do grapes 
also. Alfalfa produces about ten crops a year in favorable locations, and averages 
five or six mowings of l-£ tons to each acre, with free irrigation. It is used for dairy 
cattle. Oranges "and lemons, with good treatment and plenty of water, will give 
about It} or 2 car-loads to 10 acres, or, say, from 400 to 600 boxes, worth $1 per box on 
the t-ee. Grapes, when freely irrigated, will bear six aud eight tons to the acre; 
without irrigation, on the dry' lands, they produce from 1J tons to 2-£ tons, the latter 
being a large yield for dry vineyards. It is not the general custom to irrigate vine- 
yards in this valley. In Fresno and San Bernardino Counties, where the climate is 


drier, water is considered a sine qua won for success with a vineyard. The rainfall 
hero is more thau in those counties. Even in different parts of this country great dif- 
ferences of climate exist. The rainfall in the San Gabriel Valley varies in different 
parts of the valley. 

On my ranch the lowest rainfall recorded was 12 inches in one season— that is 
one rainy season, from October to May — and the lightest 60 inches, for the season of 

The average, I think, is about 13 or 20 inches for a season. No ill effects have yet 
resulted in this valley from irrigation. At least none that I know of. Malarial af- 
fections are generally thought to be the first to appear when irrigation affects the 
health. This has been the case in Fresno County, in this State. But here the only 
places affected by troubles of a malarial type are the cienegas, or damp lands, or bot- 
toms of old lakes, swampy spots where springs burst out. There'is but one narrow 
belt of this kind and but one spot of damp laud, San Gabriel Valley. Along the belt 
of springs children have been "troubled somewhat with croup, and diphtheria, and 
in the damp spot called El Monte some malarial troubles of a mild type have always 
been known. 

They do not irrigate at the Monte on account of the dampness of the lands. The 
ranches were formerly all devoted to cattle or sheep, and were generally very large 
3-league ranches, or not less than 15,000 acres. Some divisions are now very small, 
frorn 1 to 5 acres; but speaking generally the colonies subdivide into lots of from 
10 to 40 acres. 

The ranches commonly range from 200 to 2,000 acres, but a few very large ones 

The sources of water supply are springs and streams from the mountains. There 
arc also a number of artesian wells on the plains, and water is obtained in some 
cases by tunneling into the mountains. From the larger streams the water is taken 
out and distributed in ditches, but this method is being given up as too wasteful. 
The greater number of water developments are taken out in pipes or flumes, and 
a few in cement ditches. There are great differences of opinion as to what water will 
do, but the best authorities speaking for this climate say that 1 miner inch, 4-inch 
pressure, should serve 10 acres devoted to irrigable products. Different crops and dif- 
ferent locations and soils require different amounts of water. Alfalfa requires the 
most and orange next. Probably more water than the amount named could in most 
places be used with advantage on alfalfa. For oranges it is about right when they 
are planted in a proper soil, and with a proper exposure. 

If is too soon to say anything definite about climatic changes. Other collatsral 
matters are going on which must make any conclusions on this subject uncertain. For 
instance, the bnsh and timber lands on the steep mountains which surround us are 
being burned off and wasted to a frightful extent every year. An area of GO, 000 acre's 
is estimated to have been burned off last year on the Sierra Madre Range, between 
the Cajon and Soledad Passes. The result of this is already felt in the formation of 
destructive torrents that bring down sand and rocks into the valley and leave them 
in the fertile land destroying it. 

The springs and streams are also diminished. If these causes go on we must antici- 
pate a great reduction at an early date both iu irrigation and in the tax -paying and 
productive power of this region. It is a very serious thing, indeed, this destruction of 
limber and undergrowth. 

The mountain lands are worthless except to produce timber and as attractors and 
distributors of moisture. No one will look out for this property of the Government 
except it be the Government itself. No private property of so vast a value directly 
and collaterly would be thus left to itself and expected' to take care of itself. Nor 
should the United States Government expect a miracle to take place in this matter. 
If the forest and bush lands, which are of such vital importance to this section, are 
to be protected, the Government, which is the owner, must attend to it. The mount- 
ains should be reserved permanently by the Government, to preserve the water sheds, 
and through them the tax-paying capacity of the people of this sectiou, and these 
forests should be taken care of by resident agents. 


The success of any portion of Southern California depends largely upon its water 
supply and facilities for irrigation, as the greater portion of the rains fall within a 
period of four months, and those crops which pay the best for the capital and labor 
invested in them require more moisture than results from these rains. 

The Sierra Madre and San Bernardino Mountains rise to a great elevation on the 
east of Ibis valley, and are of vast area. The rains fall heavily on this immense water 
shed and the highest peaks are snow capped the greater portion of the year. This 
wuter shed is drained by the Santa Ana River, which flows through this valley to the 


It is the largest river in Southern California, heading 55 miles from here in the 
San Bernardino Mountain, one of the highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada range. From 
this point it wends its way through the San Bernardino Valley, a distance of 35 miles, 
to the Sierra Madre Range, and all the rivulets draining the eastern slope of this 
range empty into it and add to its volume. 

It has worn its way through a defile of this range, and at the narrowest points the 
bedrock approaches very near the surface. This important physical fact causes the 
subterranean flow of water to rise to the surface and be made available for irriga- 
tion. By this wise provision of nature our water supply is secured from danger by 
the diversion of water for irrigation at settlements higher up the river which have 
to depend on the surface flow. The waters of the river are divided equally, the 
people of this section getting one half and the people of Orange and Santa Ana get- 
ting the other half. 

Our water is conveyed to the settlement in two large canals, designated as the 
Cajon, and New Anaheim Canals. The Cajon, or upper canal, heads at a point near 
where the county line between this and San Bernardino County crosses the river. 
This is between three and four miles farther up the river than the head of any other 
canal that conveys water into this valley. 

This canal is 10 feet wide in the bottom and 3 feet deep, and has a carrying capacity 
of 3,000 inches. It conveys water a distance of 16 miles, into North Anaheim, an 
elevated section of country at the base of the foot-hills. At the entrance of tins 
canal into the settlement there is a small distributing reservoir that will hold the 
water during the night, doing away with the necessity for night irrigation. 

This is a great saving of water and labor. The New Anaheim, or lower canal, has 
its source at a point on the river just below the head of the Orange Canal, between 
4 and 5 miles below the head of the upper canal. This canal gathers up the waters 
that pass the upper canals, and gets the advantage of seepage of the river below them. 
It is b feet wide in the bottom, and 4 feet deep, with a carrying capacity of 300 inches, 
making a grand total of 6,000 inches. 

It will be seen from the above that our irrigating facilities are very great, but we 
still have a large area of country not yet under cultivation, and knowing that with 
its development the demand for water will increase, and with a zeal and enterprise 
consistent with the importance of the water system as a component factor in the de- 
velopment of this country, the company are making arrangements to increase their 
water supply so as to insure all parties a sufficient amount to meet their requirements. 
In order to do this they have secured the site for a large reservoir on the upper side 
of the valley, at the terminus of the new Anaheim ditch, before referred to. This res- 
ervoir contains 47,161 acres, and will have a depth of 25 feet. When full of water its 
storage capacity will be 403,363,291 gallons, with a discharge of 10 cubic feet per second, 
or 75 gallons ; it would take sixty days to empty the reservoir, supposing no water 
to enter meanwhile. 

The reservoir will in all probability be completed within the ensuing year. The 
administration of our water affairs is on the best possible basis, the water company 
being of the people and for the rjeople. It is a joint-stock association, known as the 
Anaheim Union Water Company, each share of stock representing au acre of land. 
A regular stockholders' meeting is held once a year, and a board of seven directors is 
selected from their number to manage the business of the company for the ensuing 
year. The charges for the water are no more than sufficient to cover the running ex- 
penses of the company. 

In addition to the above source of water supply we have what is termed the arte- 
sian well belt, beginning about one mile west of Anaheim and extending westward to 
the ocean. Fine flowing wells are obtained at depths varying from 130 to 300 feet. 
A good well will furnish the water required to irrigate 40 acres of land. An inex- 
haustible supply of surface water can be obtained at all points through the valley at 
depths varying, according to locality, from 10 to 30 feet. The domestic water for the 
town of Anaheim is supplied by a well 9 inches in diameter and 90 feet deep. The 
water is pumped by a small steam pump in a tank holding 20,000 gallons, and thence 
distributed through pipes to all portions of the town. 


Mr. D. M. Baker, editor of the Santa Aim Standard, writes as follows: 

Santa Ana is in Santa Ana Valley, Los Angeles County, California, 33 miles south- 
east of Los Angeles City ; population 2,250 ; valley 16 by 30 miles in extent, Avith 
smooth, level land and rich soil. It was settled fifteen years ago and produces immense 
crops of oranges, lemons, limes, grapes, raisins, hay, corn, potatoes, and all products 
of tec north temperate zone, and some tropics, except wheat and oats, for which it is 
too foggy near the sea shore, causing rust. Farms range in size from 5 to 40 acres, 
10 acres being the usual size. It is situated in the great southern dry belt, and is 


very healthy. Stock ranches range from 160 to 50,000 acres in size. Good laud orig- 
inally worth $2.50 per acre, now, unimproved, worth from si to $2 per acre. Rent, 
$2.50 to $5. per acre ; orchards much more. Laud carries water with, it in some water 
companies : in others it does not. In this town and part of the valley it carries it. 

In Anaheim. 7 miles northwest, it do< s not. Products as above. Every vegetable 
on earth, nearly, yields enormously if watered. Corn averages 60 to 80 bushels per 
acre, grapes 5 to 10 tons, according to age of vines ; five-year old grapes are in full 
bearing. Grapes bring $10 to $20 per ton delivered ; corn SO cents per cwt. in sack. 
All fruits grown, from apples to bananas. There is one large ditch which cost about 
$5< »,000. It is 12 miles loug. There are smaller ditches to distribute water over 12,000 
acres. The ditches are for the most part plowed and scraped out. A small part of 
the main ditch is cemented, and there is some cement piping. Water is sold at 25 
cents per head of 100 inches. One head wets an acre in one hour. Largerportion of 
the valley is devoted to corn, hay, and stock, and is not irrigated. 

The climate is mild. 20° above zero being the coldest for several years. Nothing 
was hurt by frost the past winter, and there was only one-fourth of an inch Of ice on 
two occasions. The average winter temperature is about 60° above zero. The rain- 
fall averages 15 inches per year. Don't think irrigation is healthy as a rule, nor the 
best for land, but prompt cultivation avoids injury. 

The soil is as fertile as the delta of the Nile. A high range of mountains lies east 
and north, east and northwest of the valley. The Santa Ana River runs through the 
valley from the northeast to the southwest, and in summer all the water is used for 
irrigation. It is a medical opinion that extensive irrigation in the hot summer months 
will have a tendency to cause more or less sickness, though malaria cannot exist on 
account of the sea breeze that rises every morning in the summer. We have on an 
average from three hundred and thirty to three hundred and forty clear, calm days 
to the year. 

Our rain falls from December to March, and is rarely very heavy. Vegetation makes 
a line growth in the winter season ; citrous fruits ripen and bloom then. The Eucalyp- 
tus tree makes its best growth then. The plowing is nearly all done then. Corn and 
ordinary vegetables are planted from March till June, and fall potatoes from August 
to October. Beets grow'frorn year to year, and attain an enormous size. The castor 
bean grows to a large-sized tree, often over a foot in diameter, bearing a regular crop, 
which, however, is not very valuable. The ordinary house-plants grow in the garden 
and bloom the year round. A second crop of apples is frequent. This valley is par- 
ticularly adapted to the growth of the English walnut, or Madeira nut. The olive 
thrives well here. 

The town is 9 miles from tide-water, on Newport Bay,, where small vessels come in. 
The soil is all a light-colored, sandy loam, very dry. Artesian wells are^very com- 
mon, and furnish the best drinking water. All the surface water is hard, and I think 
decidedly unhealthy for those affected with kidney disease. The drinking water is 
rain-water, kept out over night, which cools it nicely, as our nights are nearly always 


The following report, in response to the Department's inquiries, is 
from Walter James, engineer in charge of the irrigation works of Messrs. 
Haggin & Carr: 

Bellevue Ranciie, 
Kern County, California, July 17, 1885. 
J. B. Haggin, Esq., San Francisco: 

Dear Sir : Iu answer to your request for general information upon the subject of 
irrigation in Kern County, desired by the honorable Commissioner of Agriculture, as 
set forth in his letter to you of 27th April, 1885, I send you the following :' 

The area of land irrigated and under cultivation in Kern County is about 65,000 
acres, about 50,000 acres of which is seeded to alfalfa, or lucerne. The lands not 
seeded to alfalfa are planted in cotton, broom-corn, hops, grains, gardens, vineyards, 
and orchards of the various kinds of fruit trees that flourish in this climate, such 
as the apple, peach, apricot, fig, pomegranate, orange, &c. 

Land prepared for irrigation and seeded to alfalfa is valued at from $10 to $75 per 
acre, according to quality and amount of improvements ; orchards, vineyards, and 
garden lands are valued at from $20 to $150 per acre. 

There are in the valley portions of the country 400,000 acres of land which may be 
reclaimed by irrigation. By extending and enlarging the enumerated canals and 
1 heir brandies 1 his area may be supplied with water. Besides this acreage there are, 
perhaps, 100,000 acres on the slopes of the hills which by a greater outlay may be 
broughi under systems of irrigation in the remote future. 


There are twenty-seven artesian wells in the country, some of which discharge as 
much as one cuhic foot per second. It is in contemplation to use these wells of large 
(low age for irrigating;, but up to this time they are only used for watering stock. 
Many of these wells are near natural water- courses and canals, and they were put 
dowu for the purpose of procuring more wholesome water for cattle than that flowing 
from the river. Many stock men claim that the saving in loss by disease in their 
herds more than justifies the expense of procuring artesian water, or pumping from 
wells instead of using the river water. With the exception of these wells and the 
water which flows down Poso Creek a few weeks in times of rains in the mountains, 
or when the snow melts, Kern River is the only source of water for irrigating in this 

In average years from the 1st May to 1st August Kern River discharges about 3,000 
feet per second, and in the other months from 500 feet to 1,200 feet per second. • In 
unusual years it carries as high as from 9,000 to 12,000 feet per second. 

The canals taking water from Kern River for irrigating are owned mostly by incor- 
porated companies. They are in size, length, capacity, and cost as shown in the an- 
nexed table. Besides these there are numerous small canals constructed as a part of 
the cultivation of the land, of which no account is made. Many different methods of 
applying the water to the land from these canals are employed, according to the va- 
rying topography of different sections of land. Much of the land lying south of the 
river is irrigated in small areas by means of numerous small ditches. This system 
proves by experience to be well adapted to the kind of land to which it is applied.* 
Where the land lies favorably and is well prepared in this way, in half -foot levels 
instead of one-foot levels, as represented in the diagrams referred to, two men can 
distribute 500 feet of water per second at an expense of 2 cents per acre. This is on 
land set in alfalfa. 

The average cost of irrigating land under the Calloway Canal is about 8 cents per 
acre for each irrigation. The cost of preparing land so that harvesting machinery 
may pass over the levees is from $100 to $200 per acre, exclusive of the cost of main 
and branch canals. The branch canals cost about $5 per acre. This system [that of 
the Calloway Canal] is' some what extravagant in the amount of water required, but 
as these lands are irrigated but once or twice a year, and then at a time when the 
water in the river is in excess of all the wants of the country, the quantity of water 
used cuts no figure. The same is true of the system employed on a portion of the 
McClurg ranche, where large areas are inclosed between low hills by levees. A large 
volume of water, about 250 feet per second, is turned out on the land, and when the 
first level is filled the water is passed through a large gate into the next level, and 
so on. From the last level the water is drawn off into a branch canal. To prepare 
this land in this way with check levees and gates cost $2.50 per acre. It cost 5 cents 
X^er acre for each irrigation. 

Another method is found to work well on very sloping land, where the slope is long 
enough to justify the necessary preparation. It consists of a contour gutter or ditch 
supplied from a main canal or branch. This contour is made to overflow through 
numerous small openings. The cost of preparing land in this way is from $1 to $2.50 
per acre. Land prepared in this way can be irrigated for 10 cents per acre. When 
land is irrigated by numerous small ditches in small areas a thorough preparation of 
the land costs from $15 to $25 per acre. After this outlay it costs from 25 cents to 40 
cents per acre to distribute the water for each irrigation. 

This system is adapted to land that is very productive and where the water supply 
is limited. At present the duty of a cubic foot of water per second in this county is 
about 80 acres. Where the rainfall is greater or the atmosphere carries a greater 
amount of moisture less water is required, as in Los Angeles County, or that portion 
of the San Joaquin Valley nearer the bay, as in San Joaquin County.; But it is 
thought that by a more thorough preparation of the land and the practice of strict 
economy even in this the driest portion of the valley a cubic foot of water per second 
can be made to irrigate from 100 to 125 acres. Since 1880 the Beardsley and McCord 
canals have been extended a few miles. Several weirs in the river and several new 
headgates have been constructed and some additional land has been brought under 
cultivation. But the progress made in the development of the possibilities of irriga- 
tion are insignificant compared to the expenditures previously made, as indicated in 
the cost of the works enumerated. 

The construction of irrigation works and ,the improvement of the lands thereby 
supplied with water has been much discouraged by the attempts made to apply the 
doctrines of riparian ownership to the rivers of this State and the failure of the leg- 
islature to pass the needed laws governing the ownership and distribution of water. 
The scope of this doctrine of riparian ownership as sought to be applied to the rivers 
of this State is well expressed in the pleadings in the suits brought to enjoin parties 
from " in anyjnanner interfering with the natural flowage of the water of river by, 

* See report of Public Land Commission 1879-80. on Bellevue and McClurg ranches 
and the Calloway Canal. 


through, to, and over the said laud of said plaintiff." Without .such interfering Avith 
l tie natural flowage uo canal can he operated nor may a man protect his farm from 
disastrous overflow in times of high water. In fact the success of this theory implies 
the confiscation or distribution of all the property created under the laws of appro- 

In the valley portion of this county the average yearly rainfall is about 4 inches. 
During the spring and summer months the atmosphere is very dry. Under these con- 
ditions it is easy to infer the necessity for irrigation, and the almost worthlessness of 
the land without water. In their natural channels the rivers do not irrigate or make 
susceptible of profitable cultivation any land at all. The growth produced by the 
water flowing in natural channels is confined to a very narrow area along the banks, 
aud this is wild grass of no great value. On the lands below the ends of the rivers, 
which are periodically submerged, the only growth is flags and rushes, which for 
forage are of little more value than that which would bo produced on the same land 
by the rainfall. Of the water used for irrigation about 50 per cent, is consumed by 
the growing vegetation and by evaporation. The remaining 50 per cent, disappears 
downward. The continuous distribution of water in a section of country causes the 
water to rise under the ground until it comes near the surface or within reach of the 
roots of fruit or forest trees. It is thought also that the area of the artesian well belt 
will be extended by the use of water for irrigation, and that in time the water which 
is apparently lo t will show itself in the lower portions of the valley and become avail- 
able for other lands. 

Annexed is a map of part of Kern County, with diagrams designed to illustrate the 
progress of irrigation enterprises within its limits. 


Mr. G. Brower, of Bakersfield, Kern County, sends the following notes 
on irrigation : 

The irrigation area of Kern County may be generally described as a belt about 50 
miles long, with a mean width of some 20 miles, lying between the Southern Pacific 
Railroad (which describes an irregular arc of a circle in passing through the valley 
portion of the county, on a line just above, or in the edge of the irrigational plane) 
and the extreme limits of the reclaimed swamp lands to the west and south. 

The district, which is somewhat broader at the north, contracting in its circular 
course to the south and east, has a pretty uniform slope of from 6 to 10 feet, from its 
inner or more elevated edge, toward the circumference, thus presenting peculiarly 
favorable features for irrigation, and its very essential adjunct, drainage, without 
which the healthfulness of the country would be greatly impaired. Within this belt, 
paralleled with its outer edge and extending inward over about one-third to one-half 
its width, seems to lie another belt, described as the artesian-well belt, a continuation 
of the recently discovered and now famous artesian-well belt of Tulare County, which 
has be n traced from King's River southerly, between the Southern Pacific Railroad 
and Tulare Lake, to a point as far south as Goose Lake, in Kern County. 

In this county about twenty Avells have been bored during the past year, in the dis- 
trict lying between Goose Lake on the west and the towns of Paso and Delano on 
the railroad at the east, at depths varying from 400 to 700 feet, and additional wells 
are being bored as rapidly as possible with the labor available. The diameter of 
these wells is usually b inches at the top, decreasing according to the necessity for 
inserting smaller pipe within the larger in cases of obstacles or accident. 

The flow, as stated by Mr. Walter James, engineer in the employ of Messrs. Haggin 
and Carr, who are reclaiming large tracts of desert land through their agency, varies 
from 2 to 13 inches over the top of the casing, giving a capacity of from half a cubic 
foot to 4 cubic feet of water per second with an irrigational duty of from 50 to 400 
acres per well. 

The well presenting the phenomenal flow last mentioned is said to be not one of 
the deepest, being less than 500 feet. No exploration for artesian water has as yet 
been made immediately south of the district above mentioned, but, several years 
since, a number of w x ells were bored in the vicinity of Kern and Buena Vista Lakes, 
in the extreme southern portion of the valley, to "depths of from 250 to 460 feet, re- 
sulting in flows of from 2,000 to 10,000 gallons per hour. The temperature of the 
water from the artesian wells of the county varies little from 70° F., summer or winter. 


Mr. B. F. Mull, contractor for boring artesian wells, writes to Mr. 
Brower that the number of wells bored in Kern County is sixteen, viz : 

Tulare I 




S Mis / 

Mis /cT 49 2 













19 20 

— Artesian Wells bored by B. F. Mu.1L in XW. portion of Kern, County - 
December 1883 to December 1885. -r. C»«"*vj id. 

S Mis ;Z«£_ 49 2 



J. H.Haskintt, bored De- 
cember, 1883, casing 8 


J. DJIoldcii 

J. H. Louttits 

Martin's well 

E. Phillips 

Ben Watrous - 














1 , 500 



1, ioo 










Henry's well 

S II. Davis 

I. M. Hutchin's . 

D. Sewell's 

E. C. Arnold's . 

W. II. May 

I. M Hogan . 
Gr. A. Raymond 








5 A 




9 A 











Mr. Mull says a well of 4 inches flow will discharge about 8,000 cubic feet. 

In regard to wells other than artesian, which are available to some 
extent for irrigation, Mr. Brower says : 

A number of settlers have located upon the Government hind in the southeastern 
part of this district, near the foot-hills, during the past year, and at depths varying 
from 25 to 40 feet have obtained water which it is thought can be cheaply raised in 
sufficient quantities for the irrigation of vines and trees. It is claimed that this sec- 
tion is in the thermal belt, free from frosts, which occasionally visit the lower lands 
of the valley, and therefore peculiarly adapted to the most delicate of the citrus and 
other fruits. 

Water districts. — The land irrigable from Kern Eiver may be described as naturally 
divided into six districts, as follows : * 

First. The district lying between Old South Fork, the easternmost of the former 
channels of Kern River, Kern Lake, and what is termed Old River, comprising 80,000 
acres, of which 32,000 acres are swamp land, almost wholly reclaimed, supplied with 
water for irrigation by the Kern Island, the Old South Fork, the Farmers, the Stine, 
and the Castro Canals. 

Second. The district bounded by Old River, Bueua Vista Lake and Slough, and the 
present channel of Kern River, comprising about (54,000 acres (of which 10,000 acres 
are unreclaimed swamp land), watered by the Buena Vista, James, and other minor 
canals and ditches. These two districts comprise Kern Island, with a total area of 
144,000 acres, and within these boundaries are the major portion of the lands at pres- 
ent irrigated and cultivated in Kern County. 

Third. The district north of Kern River, south and west of Goose Lake Slough, and 
east of the line of swamp and overflowed lands, watered by the Pioneer, Johnson, 
James, and Dixon, Dixon and Joice, Wible, Goose Lake, Railroad,, and other lesser 
canals, comprising 70,000 acres. 

Fourth. The district known as Swamp Land District 121 (or that portion of it lying 
north of the mouth of Kern River, comprising about 43,000 acres), and swamp land 
districts 184, 185, and 208, containing 59,708 acres, an aggregate area of nearly 103,000 
acres irrigable in part by means of the Kern Valley Water Company's canals, par- 
tially completed. 

Fifth. The district bounded on the east of the highest practicable grade line for a 
canal on the north side of Kern River (which may be taken as the grade line of the 
Beardsley Canal extended northward to the county line), and bounded on the west 
by Goose Lake Slough and the line of swamp lands, and south by Goose Lake Slough 
and Kern River. The total area of this great district is about 360,000 acres, of which 
about 60,000 acres is above the grade line of the Calloway Canal. That portion of the 
district near the river is commanded by the Beardsley, McCord, McCaffrey, Emery, 
and Jones and Tuckey Ditches, while the Calloway extends northward nearly over 
its whole length. 

Sixth. The lands lying east of Keru Island, and bounded north, east, and south by 
the foot-hills and mountains, properly from a distinct district, a portion of which may 
bo covered by a projected branch of the Kern Island canal, and all of the district 
would be commanded by a projected canal from the mouth of Kern River Canon. 
There are about three townships, or nearly 70,000 acres of arable land in this district. 
The whole area of laud that may be covered by completed or projected works for 
irrigation from Kern River, therefore, foots up 747,000 acres. Of this area, about one- 
third cannot be considered irrigable, as it is not, and probably cannot be made, sus- 
ceptible of profitable cultivation, leaving but about 475,000 acres of irrigable land, 
of which about 8 per cent, has been irrigated. 

* See Report of State Engineer of California, 1880. 



The main source of Kern River is in the ice fields and beds of snow 
of the Sierra Nevada, which, during the summer, furnish a certain sup- 
ply of water, long after the winter rains in the lower mountains have 
drained away, and secure a full flow through the first seven months of 
the year, the season of the greatest demand. In some seasons the max- 
imum discharge occurs during the first three months of the year; in 
others in the months of May, June, and July ; hut ordinarily there are 
two periods of extreme flow each year — the rain flood of winter and the 
snow-water flood of summer. The season of lowest water occurs in Oc- 
tober, after which the stream begins to increase. The area of mount- 
ain snow-fall aud water-shed is 2,382 square miles. The discharge per 
square mile of drainage area was 20 cubic feet per second in 1879, but 
the average is 23 feet per second. The minimum discharge for the same 
year was 146 cubic feet per second for a few days. 

The ordinary maximum discharge is 4,800 cubic feet per second and 
the mean discharge during the irrigating season is 3,000 cubic feet per 
second. In the year 1867-68 an extraordinary flood occurred, giving 
a discharge of 29,000 cubic feet per second, which was supposed to be 
the result of a land slide blocking a valley, thus forming a storage em- 
bankment that gave way. Such a flood occurring now, would cause 
serious damage to the irrigating works, but it is not feasible, from an 
economic point of view, to provide against such a contingency. 

More canals have been diverted from the Kern Eiver than from any 
other stream in California, its low banks and the rapid slope of land 
away from it making it a simple and not expensive matter. Canals, 
consequently, have multiplied to an undesirable extent, rendering it dif- 
fficult to control, apportion, and measure the supply to each claimant, 
and this has caused serious disputes. 

Two main canals, diverted from the river where it emerges from the 
foot-hills, of sufficient capacity to serve the whole irrigable area, would 
not have exceeded the aggregate cost of the many that are now in ex- 

It would have effected the distribution more equitably than is now 
accomplished, and with less loss of water in the canals themselves, and 
would have avoided the greater loss that takes place in the river bed be- 
fore the works lower down are reached. The lowest maximum discharge 
that has been observed since irrigation commenced, was in May, 1879 
(a year of remarkable scarcity), when it was 1,231 cubic feet per second. 
The stream is composed of shifting quicksands, and is of irregular width, 
from 150 feet to 800 feet. The banks are low and unstable, consisting of 
sandy alluvium. The course of the river has frequently changed, and 
the channels, which were once main branches of the river, have been 
converted into canals, the flow of water in them being controlled by 
head-gates. The total number of canals, large and small, is 33, and their 
length 275 miles. Kern Eiver and the delta that it traverses have a 
slope of from 6 feet to 8 feet per mile, which, together with its sandy 
bed and low banks, constitute the most favorable conditions to take off 
water at almost any point, at a minimum of cost, by means of wing- 
dams of sand and brush running out into the channel at an acute angle 
up the stream. These wing-dams are liable to be swept away with 
every freshet, but as they are inexpensive no serious loss is entailed. 

To avoid this frequent renewal of the wing-dams, a dam was con- 
structed across the river of brush mattresses, staked and weighted down 
with gravel; it rested upon a bed of quicksand, which was constantly 


being undermined, and every freshet scoured a bole through the body 
of the dam. It was consequently abandoned, and the canal was ex- 
tended up stream about a half mile and a wing-dam again resorted to. 

The brush-mattress dam cost originally $7,000, and wilh subsequent 
repairs, during three years, nearly $12,000. Consequently timber weirs 
were resorted to. Many of these have also failed ; they were all on the 
original mode of construction, but none of those constructed on the last 
principle have given way. 

The earlier form of construction consisted of inclosing the area to be 
built on with sheet pilings 10 feet to 12 feet long. This area is covered 
over with a lloor placed one or more feet below the bed of the channel. 
The later constructions have a second floor two or more feet above the 
first, with walls forming compartments that are filled with sand. In 
addition the bed of the river immediately above and below the trans- 
verse sheet pilings is protected with sand boxes, 10 by 2 feet, that act 
in the same manner that stone-pitching or sand bags do similarly sit- 
uated, viz, by sinking and protecting the bed where it is eroded by the 
concentrated action of the water. These works are built entirely of 
wood, there being no stone available in the vicinity. The reduction 
of these works to the least possible figure must be at the sacrifice of 
permanency, but they certainly answer the purpose perfectly at present. 
For irrigation schemes that have been well considered and that are to 
be carried out to the full capacity of the water supply, or extent of land 
to be irrigated, the works should be built with a view to permanency, 
as far as the most desirable timber can secure this object, masonry be- 
ing too costly to be considered. 


Mr. Brower states that under provision of law all water rates are fixed 
by the board of supervisors of the county in February of each year. 
The rates now in operation on the Kern Island Irrigating Canal are as 
follows : 

General rates. — For agricultural lands beyond the limits of the town 
of BakersLield, $2.10 per foot per day of twenty-four hours; the theoretic 
discharge being at the rate of a cubic foot per second, and no delivery 
being made of less than one-half loot, through an aperture of 12 by 
inches, for a single day, or one-twelfth foot (through an aperture of 12 
by 1 inch) per day by the month. 

Town rates. — (In the town of Bakersfield and on small lots and tracts 
adjoining, supplied through the town system of works) : 

House lots, &c, 25 cents per hour for a 24-inch head. 

Orchards, gardens, &c, of one-half to 2 acres in area, in heads of 48 
inches; smaller heads (not less than 24 inch by the day or 12-inch by 
the month) 3 cents per inch per day, or 2 cents per inch per night of 
twelve hours. 

Farming lands, orchards, &c., upwards of 2 acres in extent, at the 
general agricultural rates. 

Sprinkling carts, $10 each per month. Other use in bulk, 2J cents 
per 1,000 gallons. 

Live stock. — Horses and cattle, per 1,000 head per year, $100 ; smaller 
numbers and less time in proportion, except migratory stock, per 100 
head, each watering, 50 cents. 

Sheep and hogs, per 100 head per year, $33.33; smaller numbers and 
less time in proportion, except migratory stock, each watering, 18 cents. 
S, Mis. 15 



The effect of irrigation upon vegetation under the warm sun of the 
valley is to stimulate it to rapid and luxuriant growth, but if pushed 
to excess quality is apt to be sacrificed to quantity, aud the productions 
become stalky, overgrown, or watery, and insipid to the taste. A mod- 
eration in the temperature in summer has been most noticeable, while 
a temperature of 110° F. in the shade was reached in the town of Bakers- 
field at times up to the years 1875 and I87G. The same exposure of the 
thermometer has not shown a higher degree than 104° since, and rarely 
higher than 102°. This may be due in part, however, to the thinning out 
of the timber in the vicinity of the town, and clearing the banks of the 
neighboring sloughs of the dense undergrowths which formerly checked 
the prevailing breeze from the coast, as well as to the vast fields of cool- 
ing alfalfa which now take the place of the bare ground glowing under 
a burning sun. 

Similarly an increase of rainfall has followed general irrigation, though 
how far this may be a result is not certain. According to information 
kindly furnished by the agent of the Southern Pacific liailroad at Sum- 
ner, from the official record of his office, the rainfall at that point dur- 
ing the past five years has been as follows, viz: 

For the year ending — Inches. 

June 30, 1882 2. 92 

June 30, 1883 3.96 

June 30, 1884 9.20 

June 30, 1^85 7.47 

For the half year ending Deceinher 31, 18S5 v 3. 25 

The record of previous years, he states, have all been sent to the 
engineer's office in San Francisco. 

Not only has the rainfall been greater, but a greater number of cloudy 
days, heavier dews, and more frequent fogs have prevailed during the 
past three winters, the one now closing having been noted for a degree 
of humidity unparalleled in the recollection of the early settlers. 

The bottom lands of the valley are devoted principally to alfalfa and 
stock raising, or dairying, for which they are admirably adapted, though 
corn is here raised to considerable extent, and numerous Chinese mar- 
ket-gardeners seek this locality for its great fertility and natural moist- 
ure, the subterranean waters frequently rising to within 4 or 5 teet of the 
surface. Hops and cotton are raised on these lands, also, to a limited 
extent, from year to year, but the costliness of labor— ordinary field- 
hands commanding $25 to $30 per month and board — renders it doubtful 
whether these crops could at present be raised at a profit. 

The higher irrigable lands are preferred for wheat growing and mixed 
agriculture. Alfalfa does we* on them when sufficiently irrigated, and 
makes a superior hay, because of its finer stalk ; but it does not exhibit 
the luxuriance of growth found in the lower lands. Egyptian corn has 
been tried experimentally on the high planes noi\h of Kern Eiver, and 
with marked success, under circumstances of drought that would prove 
fatal to other cereals ; but the destructiveness of birds, and the absence 
of a demand for it in the market have discouraged its cultivation to any 

Fruits have been raised in the valley to a limited extent only, by way 
of experiment, or for domestic use; but the entire range of fruits, both 
hardy and semi-tropical, have been produced here in a perfection not 
excelled in the most favored regions of the State. On the alluvial bot- 
toms apples, j>ears, peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums, prunes, quinces. 


and the Japan persimmon grow, of superior size and excellence, with- 
out irrigation beyond the first year or two. In the warmer, sandy, and 
gravelly loams of the mesas, where the necessary irrigation can be had, 
figs, almonds, pomegranates, and grapes find most favorable condition 
of soil and climate, and the more sensitive orange, lemon, and even the 
banana have been successfully grown in the open air. 

It is proper to state, however, that under the present limited expe- 
rience with these more delicate fruits, their cultivation on an extensive 
scale on the open plains is considered too hazardous to attract serious at- 
tention, though many of the more elevated slopes, and sheltered val- 
leys of the foot-hills are almost wholly exempt from frosts. There are 
few parts of the State where the value of land is not enhanced by facili- 
ties of irrigation ; but in this valley, with its slight rainfalls and dry air, 
they constitute the main factor in determining values. 

Lands otherwise desirable, but destitute of irrigational facilities, are 
held as low as $2.50 per acre, or even less. The same class of lands, with 
ditch connections, would sell for $25 to $50 per acre, the latter being the 
highest figure asked, unless for tracts exceptionally favorably located, 
in the immediate vicinity of the town of Bakersfield. 


Merced County lies in the shadow of a part of the Sierra, and con- 
tains 1,250,000 acres of land. There are less than 100 miles of canal 
and ditches in Merced, and only a few of its inhabitants enjoy perfect 
privileges of irrigation. It has a population of 8,000. 

In 1849, a Mr. Huffman, of Saint Louis, came to California, and lo- 
cated in Stockton, and after many successful speculations in land in the 
neighborhood of the town of Merced, repurchased and retained thou- 
sands of acres of the lands he had sold. Three or four years ago he vis- 
ited Merced Falls and the higher water of the Merced Eiver, and the 
thought struck him if all that water could be saved and turned upon the 
half million acres of excellent land, it would be instrumental in devel- 
oping all the resources of Merced County, and in time support a popu- 
lation of at least 50,000 people. Shortly after he went to San Fran- 
cisco, and, meeting Charles Crocker, stated what he had seen and 
thought, and the facilities for irrigating at least 400,000 acres of lands, 
by the construction of a canal which should connect with the Merced 
River where it springs out of the granite foot-hills. 

Mr. Crocker, ascertaining the cost of construction of the^canal to be 
$1,000,000, authorized Huffman to go on with the work. He returned 
to Merced, and on the 1st day of March, 1883, work was commenced on 
the main ditch, which, with its branches, has assumed vast proportions. 
The canal taps the Merced Eiver at a point a short distance above 
where the Farmers' Canal was taken out, at a curve in an abrupt bluff 
along the first terrace of the foothills, in the northeastern part of the 
county, and meanders in a southwesterly direction. The whole length 
of the canal and its branches when completed will be upwards of 75 
miles, and it will carry water enough to irrigate nearly 300,000 acres of 
land in Merced County and 75,000 acres in Fresno. The main canal, 
for a distance of 8 miles, has enough elevation to give it the fall re- 
quired, and is 100 feet wide at the top, 70 feet at the bottom, and car- 
ries 10 feet of water, or 3,400 cubic feet per second. At a point 6 miles 
below the river the canal passes through a tunnel, under a hillock of 
solid rock 1,600 feet in length, or, with its approaches^ 4,400 feet,. 


The general grade of the canal is 1 foot to the raile, and, as a general 
thing, is 30 feet wider at the top than at the bottom. There is a inac- 
ademized road, 12 feet in width, upon the upper side of the canal, 
except where the water passes through the tunnel. A huge dam or 
reservoir is being constructed 8 miles from the head-gate at the river, 
and from this dam are three unfinished branches, or a continuation of 
the main canal and two branches. The north branch will be about 25 
miles in length, and carry 1,000 cubic feet of water per second. 

The middle branch or continuation, carrying 1,000 cubic feet per sec- 
ond, is about 15 miles in length, traverses the county in a southwesterly 
direction, and crosses the railroad track some 5 miles northwest of 
Merced. Upon leaving the dam it meanders along the bed of a "dry 
creek "for most of its distance. The south branch, which may be con- 
sidered a portion of the main canal, will be 25 miles in length, and will 
carry 1,500 cubic feet of water per second. It will be 90 feet wide at the 
top, 50 feet at the bottom, and have a depth of 8 feet of water. 

This branch follows along the foot-hills for some distance, then passes 
to the north and east, then again follows the foot-hills to a point east 
and reaches Bear Creek, then meanders south to the Chowchilla River. 
There is a tunnel in this branch nearly constructed, 2,200 feet in length, 
under a gravelly foot-hill. A large section of country, for many miles 
east of Merced, may be brought under cultivation by irrigation through 
the influence of this southern branch. 

The town of Merced will be directly benefited, as it is the intention 
of the owners of the canal to lay off a reservoir of 400 acres at a point 
about 7 miles northeast from Merced. This reservoir will have a depth 
of 30 feet and an elevation above the town of 90 feet, and connect 
with it by means of a foot pipe. This branch has reached the above 
point and is being pushed rapidly towards its terminus at the Chow- 
chilla River. Water will be turned in and run through nearly (30 miles 
of canal ina month or two, from which 200,000 acres may be irrigated. 

The following replies are in response to the Department circulars, and 
are inserted here in order to group together all the facts relating to the 
Merced canal and land enterprise. 

The colony tract of Merced County includes 26,000 acres of land in 
townships G and 7, ranges 12 to 14 east, all owned originally by Charles 
Crocker and C. H. Huffman, and subdivided hy them and offered for 
sale in parcels from 20 acres upwards, with permanent water right an- 
nexed to each parcel of land. All colony land lies within 7 miles of the 
town of Merced, and before the completion of the present irrigation 
land was used for winter and spring sheep pasture, and to some extent 
for wheat growing. 

The value of the present colony land in 1880 was from $2.50 to $5 per 
acre. Present value, as indicated by recent sales, is from $25 to $75 per 
acre. Water rights sufficient to insure perfect irrigation are appurte- 
nant to each acre of colony land, and pass to the purchaser and all sub- 
sequent holders of the lands. 

Products of the land under irrigation are annual grain crops, corn, 
sorghum, root crops, including sweet potatoes, alfalfa, grapes, and all 
varieties of tree fruits — lemons, figs, oranges, &c. Value of grapes de- 
livered in bulk at Merced, $20 to $30 per ton, as per quality. Dried 
fruits, $75 to $100 per ton in car-load lots. 

The Merced colonies are supplied permanently with irrigation water 
by the Merced Canal and Irrigation Company. 

This irrigation enterprise embraces a mileage of canals and irrigation 
ditches estimated to supply an area of 350,000 acres of land on the Mer- 


ced plains with water for permanent cultivation. The main canal as 
completed is 80 feet wide at the bottom and 100 feet on top, and carries 
a body of water 10 feet deep, with a fall of 1 foot per mile. The present 
length of this canal is 20 miles. The water supply is taken from the 
Merced Eiver. This stream heads in the perpetual snow regions of the 
Sierras above the Yosemite Valley, and at the lowest stage of the river 
in dry seasons affords sufficient water to fill the canal to its full capacity 
continuously. Over $800,000 have been already expended in the con- 
struction of the company's works by Messrs. Crocker and Huffman. 
For colony service and the irrigation of a large area of outside land on 
the plains, the works are completed. 

The estimated cost of the whole enterprise to irrigate the 350,000 
acres of land on the Merced plains is $1,500,000. At present, less than 
one-fifth of this tract is susceptible of profitable cultivation for the 
product of grain. The remainder is devoted to stock ranges. As re- 
gards the climatic conditions of the land reached and intended to be 
reached by the works of the Merced Canal and Irrigation Company, 
it may be said that there is generally a clear atmosphere, summer 
and winter, with a variable rainfall, generally light, and often insuffi- 
cient to produce cereal crops. Pastures are dependent on the amount 
of early rains. The summer heat is invariably modified by uniform 
trade winds. Three Thousand acres of land continuously irrigated for 
seven years by a small canal, the predecessor of the present canal, lie 
adjacent to the present colony tracts. These 3,000 acres include the 
Buhach plantation and vineyard and garden, cultivated by Italian set- 
tlers on the Merced plains, No malarial results have attended the dis- 
tribution of irrigation water on any part of the plains, the winds ad- 
verting malarial tendencies. 

The character of the soil of the Merced Colony tracts varies from 
sandy to clayey black soil, but is alike fertile, productive, and inexhaust- 
ible when irrigated sufficiently. 

Rainfall from 1S78 to 1886, as shown uy rain gauge of C. H. Huffman, Merced, Cal. 


1878 13.77 

1879 6.24 

1880 12.45 

1881 13.05 

1382.:... 9.73 

1883 11.17 

1884 „... 23.13 

1885 8.40 

1886 j 13.17 

Average : ' 12. 34 


The present population of Pasadena is supposed to be about 2,000. It 
is growing rapidly, because known as a great sanitarium for persons 
suffering from pulmonary diseases. It is not yet an incorporated town. 
The soil is granitic silt of great depth and uniform quality. The capil- 
lary attraction of this soil is so great as to overcome the attraction of 
gravitation, so that what water the soil contains is equally diffused, re- 
gardless of depth, and does not increase with depth so as to collect in 
wells. An artesian well sunk 400 feet failed to strike water. Only one 
common well exists. It is 100 feet deep, and has only 3 feet of water at 
the bottom. Water in this region appears in perennial springs, called 


"cienegas," which are not affected by the hygroinetric condition of local 
atmosphere or season. A few miles east there is an underground water - 
bearing stratum, in which artesian or " driven" wells strike flowing water 
at about 100 feet. The same formation occurs in other parts of the 
county, giving euormous value to lands on the surface. 

In the spring of 1873 a party of gentlemen residing in Indiana ex- 
amined the southern portion of California and determined to purchase 
the half interest in Dr. John S. Griffin's rancho, San Pascal, located 
on the east bank of the Arroyo Seco, at the west end of the San Gabriel 
Valley, sheltered on the north by the Sierras and on the south by the 
Yerdugo mountains. The reasons for this choice were, the nearness to 
the railway and the city of Los Angeles, as a base of supplies and 
market for crops, and its elevation above the sea of 1,000 feet, making- 
it advantageous for those suffering from catarrhal or bronchial affec- 
tions. The topography of the ground is so diversified as to give a fine 
outlook to all parts of the tract, which has a warm, rich soil, so retentive 
of moisture that it is admirably adapted to the cultivation of semi-trop- 
ical fruits. 

A company was formed, called the San Gabriel Orange Grove Associ- 
ation, and about 3,700 acres of land were purchased. The water was 
brought about 3 miles in an iron pipe to a reservoir on the highest point 
of 2,400 acres of land, and from the reservoir, by a main pipe down the 
center of the tract, with distributing branches over a tract of 1,500 acres. 
Each shareholder was given 1\ acres of land aud an undivided interest in 
the remainder of the land and water. A portion of the timbered land 
in Arroyo Seco was subdivided into small tracts, and sold, to the stock- 
holders, the proceeds being applied to the further development of water 
from springs in the Arroyo Seco Canon. Since that time the balance 
of the land, 1,300 acres, has been sold, and additional land containing 
springs purchased. The land was purchased December, 1873, the sur- 
vey and subdivision made January, 1874. Little was done towards cul- 
tivation until the winter of 1874-75, when 15,000 fruit trees and 100,000 
vines were planted. The commanding position of the place at the head 
of the valley suggested a name signifying " Crown of the Valley ; " 
accordingly the Indian name, Pasadena, was adopted. 

In the spring of 1876 the lands of the Lake Vineyard Land and Water 
Association, adjoining the lands of the Pasadena colony on the north 
and east, were subdivided by the owners into 10-acre tracts, with the 
Pasadena streets extending through them. A concrete ditch was made 
from the springs in the Arroyo Seco, extending about 2 miles, to reser- 
voirs connected with iron pipes. The reservoirs have a storage capacity 
of 30,000,000 gallons, and leading from them are subterranean pipes 
through which the water is taken to the houses and lands on either side. 
The land is rich table-land, with a southern slope, making irrigation 
easy and rapid. 

The most enlightened system of cultivation, with but little irrigation, 
has been carried on, until 250,000 fruit trees and the same number of 
vines have been planted and are steadily coming into bearing, 


List of irrigating ivories in, Southern California, furnished by the Immigration Association 

of California. 

The Seluia Canal aud Irrigation Company, Selma, Fresno County. 
The Anaheim Water Company, Anaheim, Los Angeles County. 
The Cajon Irrigation Company, San Diego County. 


The Riverside Canal Company, Riverside, San Bernardino County. 

The Sacramento Valley Irrigation Company. 

The Lugonia Water Company, Lugonia, San Bernardino County. 

The Santa Ana Valley Irrigation Company, Santa Ana, Los Angeles County. 

The Farmer Irrigation Company. 

The Seventy-six Land and Water Company, Traver, Tulare County. 

The People's Irrigation Company, Tulare County. 

The Mussel Slough Company, Hanford, Tulare County. 

The Last Chance Company. 

The Lower King's River Company, Fresno and Tulare Counties, 

The Rhoads Ditches. 

The Settler Company. 

The Lakeside Company. 

The Kings River and Fresno Canal Company, Fresno. 

The Centre v ill e and Kingsbury Company. 

The Fowler Switch Canal Company, Fowler, Fresno County. 

The Emigrant Company. 

The Liberty Canal Company. 

The Upper San Joaquin River Canal Company. 

The Chowchilla Canal Company. 

The Farmer's Canal Conipany. 

The San Joaquin and King's River Canal Company. 

The Natoma Land and Water Company, Folsora, Sacramento County. 

The North American Canal Company. 

The Excelsior Canal Company. 

The Stanford Canal. 

The Fresno Canal, Fresno City, San Joaquin Valley. 

The Grant Canal, San Joaquin Valley. 

The Murphy's Slough Canal, San Joaquin Valley. 

The Kiucaid Canal, San Joaquin Valley. 

The Southerland Slough Canal, San Joaquin Valley. 

The Lower King's River Canal, San Joaquin Valley. 

The Rhodes Canal, San Joaquin Valley. 

The King's River Canal, San Joaquin Valley. 

The Beardsley Canal, San Joaquin Valley. 

The McCord Canal, San Joaquin Valley. 

The Calloway Canal, San Joaquin Valley. 

The McCaffrey Canal, San Joaquin Valley. 

The Emery Canal, San Joaquin Valley. 

The Jones' and Tucker Canal, San Joaquin Valley. 

The Railroad Canal, San Joaquin Valley. 

The Wibble Canal, Sau Joaquin Valley. 

The Goose Lake Canal, San Joaquin Valley, from King's River. 

The Pioneer Canal, Sau Joaquin Valley, from King's River. 

The Edwards Canal, San Joaquin Valley, from King's River. 

The James and Dixon Canal, San Joaquin Valley, from King's River. 

The Johnson Canal, San Joaquin, from King's River. 

The May Canal, San Joaquin Valley, from King's River. 

The Dixon and Joice Canal, San Joaquin Valley, from King's River. 

The Kern Island Canal Kern Island Valley, from King's River. 

The South Fork Canal, Kern Island Valley, from King's River. 

The Castro Canal, Kern Island Valley, from King's River. 

The Stine Canal, Kern Island Valley, from King's River. 

The Baker and Noble Canal, Kern Island Valley, from King's River. 

The Gates Canal, Kern Island Valley, from King's River. 

The Buena Vista Canal, Kern Island Valley, from King's River. 

The James Canal, Kern Island Valley, from King's River. 

The Plunkett Canal, Kern Island Valley, from King's River. 

The Meacham Canal, Kern Island Valley, from King's River. 

The Wilson Canal, Kern Island Valley, from King's River. 

The Henley Canal, Kern Island Valley, from King's River. 

The Frazier Canal, San Joaquin Valley, from King's River. 

The Kern Valley Water Company, Bakersfield, San Joaquin Valley. 

The Azusa Canal, Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties. 

The Duarte Canal, Los Duarte and San Bernardino Counties. 

The Peck's Ditch, Los Duarte and San Bernardino Counties. 



At the State Irrigation Con veution of 1884, held at Kiverside, Southern 
California, Mr. William Ham Hall, the State engineer, made a remark- 
able address covering the subject of irrigation laws, works, and admin- 
istration. Engineer Hall is unquestionably oue of the best American 
authorities on this subject. In the preparation of this report the De- 
partment has been greatly aided by his reports and suggestions. Mr. 
Hall's address is so clear, lucid, and comprehensive that it is appro- 
priate to summarize and quote its principal suggestions. He sums up 
the main questions which arise in the development of irrigation as 
follows : 

(1) To what lands or claimants are waters to be allotted, as to what measure in 
each case, and as to what scales as to priority of right? 

(2) According to what system are the rights or privileges to the use of water to he 
availed off 

(3) Upon what basis of credit can money be raised to bring the water to the land, 
and under what business organization may this be effected ? 

The first question is purely a question of water rights or privileges. 

The second is a question of administration of the rights or privileges. 

The third is a question of appli cation of such rights or privileges. These are prop- 
erly the " problems of irrigation," and, taken together, they constitute the " irrigation 
question." All other questions are secondary to these. These fundamental questions 
cannot be and never have been settled by a policy of non-intervention by the Govern- 
ment of any land. 

In California there are two general classes of conflicts. They are, (1) conflicts 
between rival appropriates of water; and, (2) conflicts between appropriators and 
riparian owners. Of course there are an infinite number of sub-variations of cases 
which come up under each of the general classes. In the San Joaquin Valley an- 
other question comes in, giving rise to what Mr. Hall regards as the worst conflict of 
all, namely, that between appropriators of water for irrigation and the navigation 
interests on the main river. 

To do away with these clashings of interest Engineer Hall dees not 
advise that the State take entire control of irrigation matters. He 
argues that the outlay for the satisfaction of claims would be too great; 
that the construction of works would be too costly ; that unless the 
water supply should be enough under a reapportionment to satisfy 
both classes, the conflict between appropriators and riparian owners 
would continue, and that it is altogether impracticable to condemn the 
right of navigating a public stream. Mr Hall continues : 

I would propose, as the solution of the irrigation question, that the State shall 
direct and control the diversion of waters from the streams; insist upon their eco- 
nomic use; see that the riparian proprietors are supplied with water for stock and 
domestic purposes, at least, if they cannot all come in for a share of the water for 
irrigation ; see that all lands naturally dependent upon a public source of supply get 
their share, as far as the supply will go, upon some reasonable terms ; see that the 
rights or privileges which have accrued, or may in the future accrue, be respected 
without necessitating recourse to the courts in every instance of conflict, and see 
that sufficient water is left in navigable streams to satisfy the interests of commerce 
at stated seasons when most needed. 

He suggests the passage of laws which would — 

(1) Define the nature of existing water privileges and provide for a 
record thereof. 

(2) Establish control and provide for the care of all streams for the 
use of their waters in proportion to claimants, and for the distribution 
impartially of all water not strictly private property ; establish a unit 
of measurement ; adjust conflicts between irrigation and riparian claims ; 
protect river navigation and regulate the economic diversion of waters 
therefrom ; carry forward experiments as to use and distribution " with- 
out material loss or waste," and. establish general regulations for eco- 
nomic use, and to insure good and sanitary drainage. 


Mr. Hall says : 

The plan which I have outlined contemplates : 

(1) State regulation of the pnhlic sources of supply, the streams, and of waters al- 
lotted to claimants from those sources. 

(2) District or private regulation, under general State laws, of the details of distri- 
bution from the canals to the irrigators. 

(3) State regulation of the use of water in irrigation, to the end that none he 

(4) State adjustment of conflicting rights by arbitration, when possible, or by con- 
demnation where necessary and possible. 

When this much has been accomplished there will then be a good basis of credit in ir- 
rigation property. Capital can bo obtained for the construction of irrigation works 
whenever it is known that there is a good and sufficient water right for irrigation. 

The California engineer enters into an elaborate exposition of tbe 
State laws of Colorado, as seeking to accomplish these tilings. What 
be says tbereon is quoted at some lengtb : 

We arc not without a precedent for the course which I propose for California, in 
this matter. Colorado is an irrigation country, having larger canals and more pi' 
them than has California. I have had my pride as a citizen of this State somewhat 
taken down, of late, by looking into the affairs of irrigation in Colorado. They had 
there, a few years ago, a perfect chaos with respect to water rights. Litigation 
reigned supreme, as it reigned here. But in 1879 they passed a law providing for an 
examination into the subject of water rights and irrigation, and in 1881 they passed 
a law providing for the proper proving up and recording of water- right claims and 
the administration of the affairs of the waters and streams. I have here a copy of 
that law. It is called " An act to make further provisions lor settling the priority of 
rights to the use of water for irrigation, in the district and supreme courts, and for 
making record of such priorities, and for i>ayment of costs and expenses incident 

It provides, first, that every claimant of water by appropriation shall, on or before 
a certain date, file with the clerk of the county, &c, a statement, under oath, and ac- 
cording to a prescribed form in some particulars, of the extent, nature, and history of 
the development of his claim. 

It then provides for certain publications and records of publications. 

It next provides for a judicial inquiry into the status of the various water claims 
for each of the several sources of supply. 

The dates, extent, and localities of all appropriations, constructions, and enlarge- 
ments of canals are required to be proved up before a court referee. 

This referee is required to make findings of fact with respect to all water claims 
in the district brought to his notice, and report them, with the evidence, to the court. 

The court is then required to give all parties a hearing on this report and finally to 
enter a decree declaring the extent and relative priority of each claim. This decree 
forms the basis of future distribution of waters from the stream to the canals in each 
case, which is done by a water commissioner for each district. 

The State furnishes the expert service to keep measurement of the waters in the 
streams and gauge the canals and headgates, upon which data and the decrees and 
the renewed or extended claims made from time to time the water commissioners act 
in their distribution work. 

It will be seen that this is a system whereunder the State undertakes to regulate 
the distribution of waters from the streams to the canals according to the decreed 
rights of each. 

It is a system of account keeping of the waters available for diversion, and an ad- 
justment of balances by executive officers. Quarrels between appropriators are set- 
tled once for all in the courts, and thereafter their affairs are kept out of court. 

Mr. Hall gave also an interesting account of tbe workings of this plan, 
quoting chiefly from the judicial decisions made in " Water District No. 
0." He finds in them and the laws under which they are made a just 
basis for the adjustment of water-right difficulties. 

Colorado [he says] started in by declaring in its constitution that the waters of the 
streams were the property of the State, and they should be used primarily for irriga- 

This declaration set aside riparian rights and the State courts have recognized the 
right of appropriation for irrigation as being paramount. 



The California State Irrigation Convention of 1884 adjourned from 
tbeir May meeting at Eiverside to Fresno, in December of the same 
year. They virtually followed the advice of State Engineer Hall, and 
adopted a resolution making the cubic foot per second the unit of water 
measurement. They urged a system of record for water rights. The 
legislature was asked to make all the. waters in natural screams and 
lakes "public," or people's property, to be subject to economic appro- 
priation ; to provide the extension of " the law of eminent domain " so 
as to allow an irrigation district to condemn and pay for rights of way, 
land, canals, ditches, and water claims and rights of whatever nature 
held by any person or corporation, or any other private rights of prop- 
erty, however existing or acquired, or by whatever name designated, 
which may be necessary for the appropriation or use of water; to pro- 
vide for the annual accounting "of all waters used," and "for a proper 
distribution of the waters of any T stream between appropriators," and so 
to arrange the code as to make plain the rights and duties of appropri- 
ators. There has, however, been no definite legislation, and the Supreme 
Court of the State has recently decided in favor of the riparian owners, 
thereby creating great excitement among the water appropriators of 
the State, who are believed to constitute the large majority of those in- 
terested as users. The riparian decision was made by four of the seven 

The litigation on which the decision is rendered was commenced by 
Charles Lux, Henry Miller, James 0. Miller, and others, against J. B. 
Haggin, many individuals and corporations as defendants. Lux and 
Miller, by dismissals, became the only plaintiffs, and the Kern River 
Land and Canal Company the sole defendants. The suit has been pros- 
ecuted to obtain a decree enjoining the defendant from diverting the 
waters of Kern River, which it is alleged had flowed down a water- 
course known as Buena Yista Slough, through lands of the plaintiff, 
and which, if not diverted, would have continued to flow. Plaintiffs 
appealed from a judgment in iavor of the defendant and from an order 
denying a new trial. Title I of the decision covers a statement of the 
case, &c, as follows : 

Can a private corporation divert the waters of a water-course, and thereby deprive 
the riparian proprietors of all use of the same, without compensation made or ten- 
dered to such proprietors ? 

It is held : (1) That the owners of land by or through which a water- 
course naturally and usually flows have a right of property in the 
waters of the stream. (2) This property may be taken for a public use, 
just compensation having first been made and paid into court. Water 
to supply "farming neighborhoods" is a public use, and it is for the 
legislature to determine whether in the exercise of the power (of) emi- 
nent domain it is necessary or expedient to provide further legal ma- 
chinery for the appropriation (on due compensation) of private rights 
to the flow of running streams, and the distribution of waters thereof 
to public uses. (3) But one private person cannot take this property 
from another, either for the use of the taker or an alleged public use, 
without any compensation paid or tendered (Const., Art. 1, sec. 14). (4) 
Riparian owners may reasonably use water of the stream for purposes 
of irrigation. (5) The court below erred in rejecting certain evidence 
offered by the appellants. 


The following points are set forth synoptically : 

II. The plaintiffs are not estopped from maintaining this action by reason of their 
assent to certain acts of a third person— the Kern Valley Water Company. 

III. While the argument ab inconveniente should have its proper weight in ascer- 
taining what the law is, there is no public policy which can empower the courts to 
disregard the law, or, because of an asserted benefit to many persons (in itself doubt- 
ful) to overthrow the settled law. This court has no power to legislate, especially 
none to legislate in such manner as to deprive citizens of their vested rights. 

The riparian owner's property in the water of a stream may (on payment of due 
compensation to him) be taken to supply " farming neighborhoods" with water. In 
case further legislation should be deemed expedient for the distribution of water to 
public uses (the private right being paid for) the validity of such further legislation 
is to bo determined after its enactment, if its validity shall then be questioned. 

IV. By the law of Mexico the running waters of California are not dedicated to the 
common use of all the inhabitants in such sense that they could not be deprived of 
the common use. 

V. Upon the admission of California the State became invested with all the rights, 
sovereignty, and jurisdiction, in and over navigable waters and the soils under them, 
as wero possessed by the original States after the adoption of the Constitution of the 
United States. Since the admission the public lauds of the United States (except such 
as have been reserved or purchased for forts, public buildings, &c), are held as are 
the lands of private persons, except that they cannot be taxed by the State, nor can 
the primary disposition of them be interfered with. 

VI. Since, if not before, the admission of California, the United States has been 
owner of all unnavigable streams on the public lands of the United States within our 
borders, and of their banks and beds. A grant of public land of the United States 
carries with it the common-law rights to an unnavigable stream thereon, unless the 
waters are expressly or impliedly reserved by the terms of the patent, or of the stat- 
ute granting the land, or unless they are reserved by the Congressional legislation au- 
thorizing the patent. 

VII. This State became the owner of swamp lauds described in the complaint herein, 
September 28, 1850. 

VIII. It has never been held by the Supreme Court of the United States, or by the 
supreme court of the State, that an appropriation of water on the public lands of the 
United States (made after the acts of Congress, July 26, 1866 and 1870) gave to the 
appropriator the right to the water appropriated, as against the grantee of riparian 
lands, under a grant made or issued prior to the act of 1888, except in a case where 
the water so subsequently appropriated was reserved by the terms of such grant. 

IX. If the decisions of the State, under the grant of 1850, do not depend upon nor 
are limited by the State courts with respect to controversies upon the public lands of 
the United States, those decisions do not enter into, nor operate upon the subsequent 
legislation of Congress in such manner as to require that the legislation must be con- 
strued as an attempt to deprive the State of its vested rigts. 

X. The common law as to the riparian right was not abrogated by certain statutes 
of the State applicable to a district of country within which is included the county 
of Kern, nor was the State estopped by such statutes from asserting its right to the 
flow of a natural stream from that district to and over the lands granted to the State 
by tho act of Cougress of 1850. 

XI. Section 1422 of the civil code (the rights of riparian proprietors are not affected 
by the provisions of this title) is protective, not only of riparian rights existing when 
the code was adopted, but also of riparian rights of those who acquired a title to land 
from the State after the adoption of the code and before an appropriation of water in 
accordance with the code provisions. 

Neither a grantee of the United States, nor the grantee of a private person who was 
a riparian owner when the code was adopted, need rely for protection upon section 
1422. Such persons are protected by constitutional principles. The State has re- 
served from her grants of land the water flowing through them, for the benefit of 
those who should subsequently appropriate the waters. 

XII. Tho statute of April 13, 1850, adopts the common law of England, not the civil 
law, nor the ancient common law of the civilian, nor the Mexican law. In ascertain- 
ing the common law of England we may and should examine and weigh the reasoning 
of the decisions, not only of the English courts, but also the courts of the United States 
and the several States down to the present time. 

XIII. The doctrine of "appropriation," so called, is not the doctrine of the common 

XIV. Riparian rights. By the common law the rights of the riparian proprietor 
to the flow of the stream is inseparably annexed to the soil and passes with it, not as 
an easement o.* appurtenance, but as part and parcel of it. Use does not create the 
right, and disuse cannot destroy or suspend it. The right in each extends to the nat- 


ural and usual flow of all the water, unless where the quantity has been diminished 
as a consequence of the reasonable application of it by other riparian owners for pur- 
poses hereafter to be mentioned. 

XV. By our law the riparian proprietors are entitled to a reasonable use of the 
waters of the stream for the purpose of irrigation. What is such reasonable use is a 
question of fact, and depends upon the circumstances appearing in each particular 

XVI. On behalf of the defendant certain witnesses gave testimony tending to prove 
that after commencement of the action and issue joined, there was no water-course, 
as claimed, and no channel through which the water could have flowed. The court 
erred in rejecting evidence offered by plaintiffs in reply, tending to prove that after 
dates mentioned by said witnesses for defendant there was no water-course and no 

XVII. The court below erred in rejecting all or some of the certificates of fore- 
closure offered by the plaintiffs in reply. The defendants contend that the provisions 
of the civil code from the time they took effect (May 1, 1872) operated to deprive 
subsequent grantees of State lands, intersected or bordering on streams, of all the 
rights known as riparian rights. 

The civil code saves riparian rights to those receiving grants of State lands, sub- 
sequent to the enactment of section 1422, quoted above. Assuming this, the court 
below erred in excluding the certificate of purchase. For the errors mentioned in 
Titles Nos. XVI and XVII, a new trial should have been granted by the court below. 

Judgment and order reversed, and cause remanded for a new trial. 

The reasons given in the contrary opinion, written by Justice Myrick, 
cover the following; points : The adoption of the common law of Eng- 
land by the act of the State legislature was not intended to and did 
not establish a rule of decision as to the right of appropriation of 
water for irrigation. The land of the birth of the common law of 
England had no occasion to consider or act upon the necessity for irri- 
gation and appropriation — was not within the scheme of its laws. The 
plaintiffs in this case are not in position to claim an absolute right to 
the flow of water over or through these lands. The State proprietor 
initiated a system of appropriations of water. The natural result of 
that system, applied to the waters of Kern River, would be to reduce 
the body of water flowing to the lands of plaintiffs, thus measurably 
accomplishing the object of the grant. Lands granted for the purpose 
of having water drawn off have not the right attached to them to have 
all water flow to them which, in the course of nature, would ; at least, 
it is not clearly so established. 

Of the effect of this decision one of the plaintiff's attorneys, Mr. 
Haughton, is reported as saying: All the old canals in that section 
(Kern County) of the country run parallel with the water-courses and 
irrigate riparian lands, and there was no serious trouble until Haggin 
and Tevis built the Callaway Canal to reclaim desert land, and diverted 
the water from the river at right angles. In doing this they were en- 
abled to put in 20,000 acres to alfalfa, and took water away from 
200,000 acres of rich land below them. In other words, every acre 
they reclaimed dried out 4 acres belonging to Miller and Lux, and 
others. Their canal is now 85 feet wide, and has 4 feet of water flowing 
in it, but under this decision I suppose the canal will be closed up and 
the result, in that event, would be the drying out and reversion of their 
lands to a desert waste. 


There are four systems of water distribution within the irrigation re- 
gion of Southern California. The oldest and most notable is that in 
vogue at Los Angeles. The water is owned by the municipality and 
distributed by public officials. The money, therefore, goes into the 
public treasury. The zanjero takes all orders and distributes pro rata f 


taking the acreage to be sowad mto consideration. The objection to 
the plan is in the wasteful open ditches. Cement pipes would do away 
with most evils and ultimately pay the city well for the outlay. 

The next system commonly in vogue is that of the unlimited spread 
of water. It is wasteful. The method is as follows : A water com- 
pany is formed, with a large capital stock. A water right is secured 
from some river ; the water is put upon land as it is settled up, and is 
soon spread over a large tract, without regard to economy, causing 
scarcity in summer, when water is most needed to save and perfect the 

The " prior right" plan comes next in order. It is thus described : 
A person or company buys a tract of land, say, 2,000 acres, and a water 
supply of, say, 200 inches as measured in an ordinary season in mid- 
summer. This water-supply will furnish water to the tract of 2,000 
acres on a basis of 1 inch to 10 acres. That is considered enough, and 
so it is in some localities. The individual or company subdivides his 
land and commences to sell it off. Mr. A comes along and buys a 10- 
acre tract. He gets a deed for the 10 acres of land and a supply of 
water from a certain source of water-supply on the basis of 1 inch of 
water to 10 acres of land. He puts his deed on record and goes to 
work, thinking that he has a good water right, and so he has. B comes 
along and buys 10 acres more on the same basis, and the sales go on at 
this rate until the entire 2,000 acres of land are sold and with it 200 
inches of water. Under the deeds each owner of land has a right to 
his share of water so long as the supply remains up to the standard of 
200 inches. But a dry season comes and the supply is reduced to 175 
inches." Who owns the 175 inches of water % Mr. A had his deed on 
file first, and it calls for enough water to irrigate 10 acres of land on a 
basis of 1 inch to 10 acres. He evidently owns 1 inch of water. B also 
owns 1 inch, but his title is subject to that of A. So long as there are 
2 inches in the stream B's water right is good, and so on up to the man 
who bought the one hundred and seventy-fifth 10 acre tract. He and 
those who bought prior to him each take their inch of water to each 10 
acres owned, and thus the entire 175 inches of water are appropriated. 
What is to become of the other land owners who bought after that ? 
They evidently have no water until the rains come again to swell the 
stream. There are several localities in Southern California where the 
water rights are on this basis. 

The plan of distribution known as the " Holt system," from having 
been projected by Mr. L. M. Holt, editor of the Kiverside Press and 
Horticulturist, is the one which grows in favor among the later colonies. 
Ontario colony seems to be one of its most favorable illustrations, and 
the following description is given : 

Chaffey Bros, bought certain water rights in San Antonio, one item being a half 
interest in the San Antonio Creek. They also purchased some 10,000 acres of land on 
the plain below the canon and laid off the Ontario tract. They then formed the San 
Antonio Water Company, with a capital stock of 15,000 shares, and provided that this 
company should furnish water to owners of stock only, and that the amount of water 
in the possession of the company should be distributed pro rata among the stockhold- 
ers. They then made a contract with the company to sell all their water rights in 
San Antonio Canon to the company to conduct the waters from the canon to a reser- 
voir to be built near the head of Euclid avenue, in cement ditch, pipe, flume, or other 
viaduct; to construct the reservoir and to pipe the water from the reservoir in con- 
crete pipes to the highest corner of each 10-acre lot to be irrigated, and to tnrn over 
all this property and water rights to the company, taking in payment therefor the 
stock of the company on the following basis : 

The waters of the company are to be measured under a 4-inch pressure at a point 
where they are to be emptiecl into the reservoir, on the 15th day of July, and stock is 


to be issued to Chaffey Bros, by the company on a basis of 10 shares of stock for each 
inch of water. 

Chaffey Bros, reserve the right for fifteen years to develop the waters of San An- 
tonio Caf4>n or to furnish water from any other source that can be put into the reser- 
voir, and for each inch of water so developed or furnished and measured on the 15th 
day of July, 10 shares of additional stock are to be issued in payment therefor. As 
Chaffey Bros, sell the land they transfer one share of stock with each acre sold, and 
thus, when all their stock is sold, representing the water turned over to the company 
and measured in midsummer, the 15th of July, they can sell no more land with water 
right, and hence the water cannot be spread over more land than it will irrigate. All 
the water belonging to the company is divided equally among the stockholders ac- 
cording to the number of shares held by each. In winter and spring this amount will 
of course be very large, and in midsummer it will average on the J5th day of July 1 
inch of permanent flow to each 10-acre tract. Some seasons it may be a little more 
and some seasons it may be a little less at that season. If in a very dry season it does 
get to be less the amount on hand is divided equally, each one taking less, but all 
getting enough to tide over the extraordinary season. The last purchaser has just as 
good a water right as the first one. 

These systems are represented in character. Some other localities have modifica- 
tions of this system. Pasadena has a system of iron pipes for distributing water 
under pressure from a reservoir. The North and South Fork ditches of the Santa Ana 
River in San Bernardino County have shares or undivided interests with no incorpor- 
ation. Each owner of shares uses his pro rata of water on as much or as little land 
ashe thinks best. 

There are four large streams of water in Los Angeles and San Ber- 
nardino Counties in Southern California, flowing from the mountains 
towards the sea, that furnish water for irrigating purposes. Commenc- 
ing on the west we have — 

(1) The Los Angeles Eiver, that furnishes water for the city of Los 
Angeles and territory adjacent thereto. 

(2) The San Gabriel Eiver, that supplies water to the A^usa and 
Duarte settlements in Los Angeles County. 

(3) The San Antonio Canon, on the line between Los Angeles and 
San Bernardino Counties. This stream is equally divided, one half 
going to Ontario on the east, and the other half to the Loop and Me- 
serve tract and Pomona on the west. 

(4) The Santa Ana Eiver, that furnishes water for the Xorth and 
South Fork ditches, all the water that comes from the mountain canon 
being taken up by these two ditches. 

Beside these four principal streams there are two other considerable 
bodies of water, Warm Creek and Spring Brook. The first named 
flows into the Santa Ana 12 miles below the canon. With other springs 
and smaller streams it supplies the Riverside settlements. Northwest 
of Eiverside Spring Brook rises and furnishes another large body of 
water which flows down towards the sea. Most of this is taken out near 
the Eincon ; and again other streams and springs furnish water for the 
river that supplies Anaheim, Santa Ana, Orange, and Tustin City with 
water. The San Gabriel Eiver is perfectly dry in summer below where 
the water is taken out for Azusa and Duarte, but 10 miles lower down 
quantities of water come to the surface, and the Los Nietos country 
is supplied with irrigating water. The San Antonio caiion furnishes 
a fine stream of water that is well supplied with mountain trout. 

Hon. E. M. Widney, of Sierra Madre, Los Angeles County, writes 
generally of that section as follows : 

The water in running streams is soft water from the rain and snow falls on the 
mountain. Some wells reach hard, some soft water. The cost of sinking a well, 
including 7-inch pipe (when not in stone), is $1.50 per foot for the first 100 feet ; after 
that, 50 cents per foot extra is added to each new run of 50 feet. 

In the Los Angeles Valley there are about 300,000 acres of land, of a rich, sandy 
loam, where the water is from 5 to 12 feet from the surface. By cultivating the soil, 
keeping it free from weeds, the moisture will remain within 2 inches of the surface. 
All deciduous frnits d© remarkably well on this class of land without irrigation, 


This land really needs no irrigation for all ordinary purposes. Artesian water is to 
be had on this land at a depth of from 60 to 100 feet. 

The next grade of land is rolling and table-land, with the surface above the water 
level from 12 to 30 feet. This landi s a warm, rich, sandy soil, free from all except 
the occasional frosts. On it grow in tropical vigor the orange, lemon, lime, and other 
citrous fruits. 

The foot-hills embrace an area of some 300,000 acres. On this the surface is from 
50 to 200 feet above water. With irrigation from the mountain streams it is the high- 
est priced land in the country. 

Water right for irrigation is worth about $20 per acre on the first class of lands 
above described. On the second class of lands the water right is worth about $50 
per acre, while on the third class of lands the water right is worth from $75 to $100 
per acre. This is owing to the fact that the first class of lands needs very little irri- 
gation. The second class, by reason of frost, is somewhat limited in its products, 
while on the third class of lands, with water to irrigate, the yield of fruits is superior 
in quality. 


The Spanish soldiers who established the town of Los Angeles, on 
September 4, 1781, dug the first irrigating ditch, or zanja, from the river 
to their fields. This was the beginning of the present remarkable irri- 
gation system of Los Angeles. In time it became necessary for one 
man to devote his whole time to the repair of the zanjas and the distri- 
bution of water, and accordingly a zanjero, or water overseer, was 

The sources of water are three : first, rain ; second, springs ; third, 
wells. Under the warm sun the water in the zanjas is rapidly evapo- 
rated. The friable soil absorbs it in no small quantities. To prevent 
this waste, cement, or costlier iron pipes have been introduced. Further 
economy is practiced in the creation of large reservoirs, which are filled 
with the surplus of rainy days or swollen rivers, for the long dry spell. 
Dams are also thrown across canons in the mountains, thus backing up 
and storing the waters which otherwise would be spread out upon the 
plains and lost. Common and artesian wells, aud tunnels into the 
mountains, also increase the supply of water. 

The Los Angeles Eiver rises on the Encino Ranche, about 12 miles 
northwest of the city. Entering the city, what water is not taken out 
entirely sinks before reaching Seventh street. In times of very high 
flood the water runs down the channel of the river-bed, uniting with 
the Old San Gabriel .Biver, and emptying into the ocean just west of 
Long Beach. At such times the river is about 35 miles long. The 
present channel was opened to the ocean by the freshets of 1825. Pre- 
vious to that the country between San Pedro was a vast willow swamp. 

The first irrigating ditch is taken out of the river 3 miles above Se- 
pulvede station, on the Southern Pacific Railroad. It is called the main 
supply. It is brought down on the west side of the river. Near the 
city's northern limits the main-supply ditch is divided into east and 
west branches. The east branch is numbered 9, and the capital E is 
added to it to designate the east side of the river, where it goes ; it is 
always spoken of as Zanja 9-E. In 1884 it was piped across the river 
at a cost of $30,000. Zanja 9-E empties into the eastern reservoir 
known as No. 5, that is, while it is only one of the two reservoirs the 
city now has, it is the fifth of a series planned by the engineers and 
which are being created as fast as money can be obtained. Each of 
these two reservoirs contain, when filled, sufficient water to carry on 
the regular irrigation for sixty days, or both for four months. When all 
six shall have been made it is calculated that they will furnish enough 
water for irrigation for nine months, exclusive of whatever water may 
be in the river, providing no more rain falls. 


Reservoir No. 5 is situated over the hill at the head of Downey 
avenue. From reservoir No. 5, Zanja 9-R takes water to all the high 
table-lands east of the city. This zanja got its letter R with its number 
because it is taken from the reservoir. 

Zanja No. 7 is taken out of the river at the Macey street bridge and 
supplies water to the narrow tract of land between the river aud the 
eastern bluff. The Zanja Madre (mother ditch, probably so called be- 
cause it was the first ditch of the city's founders in 1781) is taken out 
of the river at the toina (from the Spanish tomas, to take) just at the 
intersection of Buen a Vista street. It runs down through the center 
of the city aud supplies that portion. The Zanja Madre and Zanja No. 
7 draw direct from the river. 

Returning to the first ditch taken from the river, the western branch 
is called Zanja and R, for the old Canal aud Reservoir Company's 
ditch. It empties into Reservoir No. 4, the second reservoir now owned 
by the city, but the fourth in the series as planned The water is taken 
from Reservoir No. 4 by Zanja 8-R and distributed over the entire 
western portions-of the eity. These ditches average 75 miles in length. 
Their original cost of construction was several millions of 'dollars, and 
over 8,500 acres per mouth for at least six months in the year are irri- 
gated by them. 

The value of the water in the river may be realized when it is known 
that in August, 1884, the city purchased the remaining fraction of the 
water it did not own of G-. J. Griffith, the proprietor of the Los Feliz 
ranch, for $50,000. This fraction was one-tenth of the flow, estimated 
at 8 cubic feet per second. The city had been beaten in two suits be- 
fore the Supreme Court in trying to get title to the water. The city 
is divided into sjx districts, each one of which is guarded by a deputy 
zanjero, at a salary of $75 per month. He furnishes himself with two 
horses, and is expected to be on duty day and night. He keeps the 
ditches in repair, divides out to each land owner his share of water, 
and guards against any water being stolen. As irrigation goes on night 
and day, his duties are arduous. The deputies are under control of the 
zanjero, who receives $150 per month. 

The irrigating season usually begins in April or May, and lasts till 
November or December; indeed, there is some irrigation all the year 
round, even in wet weather, for vineyards, or to, drown gophers. On 
the 24th of each month the party desiring to irrigate goes to the zan- 
jero's office and files a written application for water, pays his money, 
gets a ticket, and the first convenient date is assigned to him. Here 
comes in the curious and perplexing measurement of water. 

It is reckoned that the first maiu ditch takes 18 u heads "out of 
the river. Each of these heads equals 2 inches. Now, how much is 
an "inch?" The Civil Code of California (section 1415) defines a 
u miner's inch " as that quantity of water which will flow through an 
opening 1 inch square in the bottom or side of a vessel under a pressure 
or head of 4 inches. This has a flow of 24.56 cubic inches per second 
or 538.00 gallons per hour. So much for the legal definition ; but when 
it comes to Los Angeles " heads " and u inches " they must be taken in 
a Pickwickian sense. Briefly described, they are as follows : When the 
water is taken out of the river it is called 18 heads, whether it is a large 
or small quantity. The heads vary, therefore, in size according to the 
supply of water. The main ditches are divided into small ditches; 
each of the latter is reckoned to have 2 heads. The tickets call for one- 
half of the water, or 1 head, in a small ditch for twenty-four hours, be- 
ginning either at sunrise or sunset of a certain date. Water is sold at 


the following rates: Inside the city limits, per day, $2; per night, 
$1.75 ; per half day, $1.75. Out of the city limits, per day, $4. One 
4 - head V is allowed to each purchaser for twenty-four hours. Vineyards 
and corn require irrigation three times per year • citrous trees, every six 

From November 1, 1884, to November 1, 1885, the total receipts for 
water, fishing permits, &c, amounted to $12,415.50 j expenses, salaries, 
repairs, and improvements of ditches was $14,437.57. There was also 
the additional improvement of piping Zanja 0-E across the river at a 
cost of $30,000. This zanja will be further piped the coming year by 
the connecting of the two pipes which now cross the Los Angeles River 
and the Arroyo Seco, at a cost of $17,000, as provided in the lately 
voted bonds. About 8,500 acres altogether, inside and outside the city, 
were irrigated the last season. With the proposed piping and storage, 
engineers estimate that four times the present area can be irrigated. 
This is all outside of the private work of supply done by three water 
companies. The foregoing account is mainly condensed from a paper 
published in the Los Angeles Herald. Many efforts were made to ob- 
tain official data, but no responses of importance were obtained. 


A curious question of property rights has arisen in San Bernardino 
County. For years the district around the old town of San Bernardino 
has been supplied with water from artesian wells, but recently settlers 
on lower ground adjacent to Riverside have commenced boring wells 
and tapping the same source of supply as the San Bernardino wells. 
In consequence, most of the latter are showing signs of exhaustion, 
while some of tbem have already ceased to flow\ This is a serious 
danger to the San Bernardino settlers. There are in California several 
thousand flowing artesian wells, and in some localities the prosperity 
or even the habitableuess of the country is dependent upon them. In 
every region where the old wells can be exhausted by boring in a dif- 
ferent place and tapping the subterranean stream at a lower level the 
property is in danger of extinction. 


The following statements were made at the meeting in 1884 of the 
San Joachim (Cal.) Viticultural District Convention, the parties being 
leading viueyardists of that region : 

Mr. Haraszthy. Do you find it necessary to irrigate during the year? 

Miss Austin. That depends altogether on the locality. 

Mr. Haraszthy. I mean for Fresno vineyards. 

Miss Austin. For our section of Fresno I have found from my experience that we 
can lay down no law that will apply to all cases. I have found with our depth of 
soil, however, and with our yield, we need no summer irrigation for grapes. We 
irrigate in winter but once, this last winter not at all. I generally flood the vines 
once, giving them a thorough flooding. 

Mr. Haraszthy. How deep have you to dig for water ? 

Miss Austin. I have not dug lately, but my neighbors say from 7 to 8 feet. 

Mr. Haraszthy. What amount of water do you use % 

Miss. Austin. Water is abundant and we flood one check after another. The water 
will stand on a check, say to the depth of 2 or 3 inches. 

Mr. Wetmore. That means how many inches of water? 

Miss Austin. I could not tell you, I don't know ; I never measure it, I never have 
measured it, it just flows through the gate. Until two years ago we watered in sum- 
mer, also irrigated, but the country Las filled up so long by seepage that it is un- 
necessary, and I think the time will come when it will not be necessary to irrigate 
even in winter. I don't think it is necessary now, in some places. 

S. Mis. 15 7 


Mr. Hakasztiiy. What are your views on irrigation, Mr. White, based on your 
practical experience ? 

Mr. White. So far as irrigation is concerned, this country for the past five, six, or 
seven years has changed wonderfully. When I first came here, in digging a well we 
went down 45 feet through the dry dust. There is a man who lives about a mile from 
my place who says he got water 4 feet from the surface. I am satisfied that where 
the water is as near the surface as that, there is do need to irrigate summer or winter. 
The effect of irrigation in summer would be to damage the grapes, unless they were 
suffering for want of moisture. As long as they are growing, don't put water on them 
but keep cultivating them. 

Mr. Hakasztiiy. Could you get along with this soil and in this climate without 
summer irrigation Avhen the water is 40 feet from the surface ? 

Mr. White. No, I would say it has been necessary up to within the last year or so 
to summer irrigate two or three times in order to keep vegetation alive. In fact, I 
have an apricot orchard in blue soil that needed it this year. 

Mr. Haraszthy. I will state that I am interested in a vineyard in Yolo County, aud 
last year there the thermometer stood 120° F. in the shade. The vines are some twenty- 
eight years old now. We have dug down in some low places and found it to be about 
60 feet to water. We never had a drop of water on that vineyard except by our reg- 
ular rainfall, and the vines are quite thrifty. They don't bear what yours do, but good 
wine is made from them. 

Judge North, of Fresno, commenting on Mr. White's testimony, said: 

The experience of Mr. White has been, that for years he was not able to do what he 
is doing now. When it was 45 feet to water he had to irrigate in summer, but when 
the water comes up to within 6 or 8 feet of the surface he can get along better with- 
out water, and it is not desirable to irrigate. Every year brings up some new ques- 
tion, produces some new conditions, and a rule that will hold good this year will fail 


(1) Give location, geographical and postal, of your colony or enterprise ; area thereof, past 

and present ; any facts bearing thereon; also size of colony, farms, and ranches. 

H. C. Eiggs, Talk's Store, writos : 

Payette Valley is in Ada County. Falk's Store is the post-office. The valley is 30 
miles long by 3 wide. All the land on the Payette River is taken, and there are many 
claims on the back tier. These are called sage brush ranches. The average ranch is 
160 acres, but some go as high as 400 to 700. 

A. Eossi, postmaster at Washoe, writes: 

We are located between thirty-ninth and fortieth degrees of west longitude and 
near the forty- fourth of north latitude. Railroad is from Granger, Wyo. .to Hunting- 
ton, Oreg., between the post-offices of Payette, Idaho, Ontario, Greg., and Falk's 
Store, Idaho, on the southeast. Area, 38 square miles, of which about 4,000 acres are 
bottom land, 12,000 acres upland, and 8,000 acres hilly. First settlements made in 
1870, when the locality was used for wintering stock ; sizes of farms from 80 to 320 

James A. McGee, secretary Phylles Land Company, of Caldwell, 
Ada County, writes : 

Our nearest post-office at present is Caldwell, Ada County. Our railroad station is 
called Nampa, which is the proposed name of this place. Lands in the immediate 
vicinity capable of irrigation amount to about 200,000 acres; about 40,000 acres are 
now held by actual settlers ; average size of farms, 160 acres to each settler. 

(2) Original value of land per acre, present selling price ; state if the purchase of land 

carried water also; if not, rent or price of latter per acre, 

James A. McGee writes from Caldwell : 

Original value of the land was $1.25 per acre. Present selling price is from $10 to 
$60 per acre, according to improvements. Purchase of landdoes not carry water with 
it only in isolated cases. Price of water at present is $1 per inch yearly rental, and 
$8 per inch for perpetual right. 








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S Mis AC. 49 2 


A. Boss!, postmaster, Washoe, writes : 

The original value of land was $2.50 per acre; the present selling price in large 
quanties is from $20 to $30 per acre ; small sales from 8 to 10 acres, close to railroad, 
from $30 to $75 per acre, water included ; rent of water per acre, $1. 

H. 0. Riggs, Falk's Store, writes : 

The land rauges from $7 to $20 per acre. Most of the river ranches have private 
ditches which go with the sale of land. Three large ditches or canals have just been 
completed, hut there is no settled price for water as yet. 

(3) Products of land; amount market and average value of crops ; how long planted. 

Are fruits grown 1 ? 

H. C. Riggs, Falk's Store, writes : 

Wheat yields 30 bushels per acre ; oats, 40 to 50 ; barley, 
hardy vegetables grow in great profusion, and the same with fruit. 

Owing to the dryness of the climate our fruit matures in the iinest condition, aud 
keeps well. 

Grain is selling at $1.25 per cental; hay, $7 to $10 per ton ; potatoes, 1 cent per 

A. Rossi, Postmaster, Washoe, writes : 

All kinds of grasses, cereals, vegetables, and fruits. Average crops per acre: Four 
hundred bushels potatoes, 30 of wheat, 50 of oats and barley, 2^ tons of timothy, 3 
of red top, and 5 of clover ; the latter is cut twice. Value per pound : Wheat, 1 
cent; oats and barley, 1J cents; potatoes, f cent; cultivated since 1872. A crop of 
apples, pears, peaches, and plums was gathered from a few trees tbat were planted 
in 1882 ; first trees planted in 1882. 

James A. McGee writes from Caldwell, Ada County : 

Hay, vegetables, corn, oats, wheat, barley, and rye ; mostly hay aud grain. 

Grain produces from 35 to 50 bushels per acre, hay about 2 tons per acre, valley 
lands admitting of three cuttings ; potatoes and turnips, about 10 tons per acre. 
Grain brings from 1 cent to If cents per pound ; hay, $6 to $10 per ton ; vegetables, 
from 1 to 2 cents per pound. Plenty of fruits grown, and production and quality are 
number one. 

(4) Extent of irrigation works and their character ; source of supply, method of dis- 
tribution ; cost and value of irrigation works; amount available at present and pros- 
pectively ; nature of works ; service per acre; any general facts showing extent of 
ivorks, land areas irrigable or non-irrigable, occupied for cultivation, used for cattle and 
sheep, Sfc. 

James A. McGee, secretary Phylles Land Company, Caldwell, writes : 

Two ditches, capacity 75,000 inches, drawn from Boise" River, distributed by boxes 
iu main ditches. Not finished, estimated to cost $300,000; $75,000 already expended; 
can get 200,000 inches of water if necessary. One inch of water supplies 1 acre. 
Ditches are about 45 miles long, running from Boise River to Snake River. The land 
capable of irrigation amounts to at least 400,000 acres. The farms are mostly under 
cultivation, but cattle are raised in the vicinity on all sides. The ranges are very 

H. C. Riggs, of Falk's Store, writes : 

The three irrigating ditches of Payette Valley will cover most of the land on the 
south side of the river — they are taken out of the river. I have no correct data at 
hand, but I should -judge that the three cost $150,000. There is a canal surveyed on 
the north side, and the company say they will construct it. It will cover a higher 
body of land and better soil. [See diagram. ] 

(5) Climatic conditions, temperature and rainfall ; results of observations, if any, as to the 
influence of irrigation on moisture of earth or sky ; effects of irrigation on health, fertility 
of soil, Sfc. 

James A. McGee writes : 

The mean annual temperature for the year 1885, was 52° F. Range in tempera- 
ture from 7° below zero (January 1) to 99° above (June 28). There were twenty-four 
days in the summer months on which the thermometer registered above 90°, and in 


the winter months sixty-two days on which the mercury fell to 32°. Total annual 
precipitation, 12.56 inches, of which six-tenths of an inch fell between July 1 and 
September 30. Idaho having the lowest death rate (0.33) of any State or Territory of 
the Union, it is presumed that the effects of irrigation on health are not in any man- 
ner injurious. The fertility of the soil is enhanced one hundred fold by irrigation. 

H. G. Biggs, of Falk's Store, writes : 

For the past winter the mercury has never been below 5° above. The average has 
been 20° above. Now, January 27, 50° above. However, this is rather a mild winter. 
We have spring and fall rains regularly, but seldom have any in summer. Many old 
orchards want no water since the trees have shaded the ground. I am of the opinion 
that irrigation is conducive to. health, except where the foilage is allowed to grow 
too dense around the dwellings. This is already the case in Bois6 City, but they are 
cutting it away to give the sun a chance to shine. 


Mr. A. Rossi, postmaster at Washoe, writes as follows : 

No observations have been made in this locality regarding the effects of irrigation, 
but in Boise Valley, near Bois6 City, first settled in 1863, about 50 miles southeast 
from here, and 150 feet higher above sea level, no moisture could be found in tho at- 
mosphere in summer of 1871 a.nd preceding periods, while at present the moisture 
is very perceptible, dew being noticed on plants, &c. Irrigation does not seem to 
affect the health of that community, but reduces the temperature by an average of 
10°. Previous to 1872 the mercury generally reached 110° in the shade, while at 
present it never reaches over 100°. 

Low or bottom lands are irrigated by plowing small ditches the whole length of tho 
field, 8 or 10 feet apart, and letting the water run through them about once every 
ten days. In irrigating uplands the soil containing no sand, therefore being less sub- 
ject to percolation, the water is run over the surface of the ground in sections of 
from 10 to 25 acres, according to the evenness of the land. A man lets on from 
the main ditch a stream of water containing from 100 to 200 inches, follows the 
water up, builds little dikes in places where it is liable to cut the soil, or where he 
finds depressions in the land, leads the water to the highest places in that portion 
of the field, and generally assists the water in covering the whole piece of ground. 
At night he turns off about half the stream and lets the balance do its own work. It 
requires 1 inch of water, running at a speed of 2 feet per second, to irrigate 1 acre. 
One canal, not completed, is to be 20 miles in length ; capacity, 12,500 inches. Tho 
expenditure has been $16,000; $15,000 more will be required to complete the work. 
There is one canal completed by Hon. E. A. Stevenson. It is 14 miles in length and 
cost l|>12,000. Its capacity is 5,000 inches. Source, Payette River. The uplands will 
be covered by the two canals. 

Our climate is dry in summer, the rainfall being from 8 to 14 inches. We have rain 
and snow in winter, but little precipitation in fall or spring. The average winter 
temperature, 25°; that of summer, 80°. The lowest temperature is 20° below zero in 
winter, and 50° above in summer. The highest is 60° above in winter, and 110° 
above in summer. 


The following list of land and water companies organized in the Ter- 
ritory, with the location of their principal offices and the names of their 
officers, is furnished to the Department by the Hon. E. H. Stevenson, 
governor of Idaho : 

The Alturas Water Company, Hailey, Alturas County ; trustees, W. T. Riley, Texas 
Angel, et ah 

The Bellevue and Wood River Ditch Company, Bellevue, Alturas County: trustees, 
J. H. Harris, C. H. Clay, et ah 

The Bois6 City Water Company, Boise" City, Ada County ; trustees, John Lemp, C. 
Jacobs, et ah 

The Bois6 Valley Irrigation Hitch Company, Bois6 City, Ada County ; trustees, D. 
Heron, S. D. Aiken, el ah 

The Beaver and Potosi Ditch and Water Company, Myrtle, Shoshone County; 
trustees, John Herrmann, James F. Wardner, et ah 

Boise" City Canal Company, Bois6 City, Ada County; trustees, J. P. Wilson, George 
Davis, et ah 


The Boise" Valley Irrigation Ditch Company, Bois6 City, Ada County ; trustees, E. 
I'. Baker, Eeuben Cox, et al. 

The Bingham County Agricultural Association, Eagle Rock, Bingham County; 
trustees, S. F. Taylor, W. E. Wheeler, ct al. 

The Boise", Deer Flat and Snake River Canal Company, Caldwell, Ada County; 
trustees, C. H. Reed, J. E. Meacham, etal. 

The Cub River and Warm Creek Canal Company, Sand Ridge, Oneida County; 
trustees, Nairn in Porter et al. 

The Cedar Buttes Irrigating Company, Cedar Buttes, Oneida County ; trustees, J. 
C. Fisher et al. 

The Cub River and Middle Ditch Irrigating Company, Franklin, Oneida County ; 
trustees, James Packe Franklin ctal. 

The Clifton Irrigating Compauy, Clifton, Oneida County ; trustees, E. II. Hooker 
el al. 

The Central Park Irrigating Ditch Company, Ada County ; trustees, M. F. Fowler 
et al. 

The Chadville Irrigating Ditch Company, Chadville, Oneida County ; trustees, 
Stephen Allen et al. 

The Cottonwood Irrigating Company, Cottonwood. Bear Lake County ; trustees, 
Alfred Sparks et al. 

The Cub River Irrigating Company, Franklin ; trustees, F. M. Stephens et al. 

The Deep Creek Curlen Valley Irrigating Company, Malad City, Oneida County; 
trustees, Joseph Robbins etal. 

The Dixie Ditch and Irrigating Companv, Boise City, Ada County ; trustees, J. B. 
Wright, M. D., et al. 

The Dry Creek Ditch and Irrigating Company, Ada County; trustees, J. Q. Smith 
et al. 

. The Eagle Rock Water Works Companv, Eagle Rock, Bingham County ; trustees, 
J. M. Clifford, J. M. Bennett, et al. 

The Eureka Ditch Company, Caldwell, Ada County; trustees, G. W. Snodgrass, C. 
R. Smith, etal. 

The Emmetsville Irrigating Ditch Compauy, Emmetsville, Ada County ; trustees, 
James T. Davis, Freeman S. Page, et al. 

Eastern Idaho Mining and Water Company, Blackfoot, Bingham County; trustees, 
Watson N. Shilling, P. J. Anderson, et al. 

The Egin Irrigating Ccrjpany, Egin, Oneida County ; trustees, William Caxson, 
W. M. Parker, sr., et al. 

Eureka Water Company, Caldwell, Ada County; trustees, E.Frost, William A. 
Simpson, et al. 

The Eagle Rock and Willow Creek Water Company, Eagle Rock, Bingham County; 
trustees, George F. Heath, Henry W. Keifer, et al. 

The Franklin Irrigating Ditch Company, Middletown, Ada County ; trustee, Lewis 
F. Cook et al. 

The Georgenson Irrigating Ditch Company, Weston, Oneida County; trustees, 
Neils Georgenson et al. 

The Garden Creek Irrigating Ditch Company, Garden Creek, Oneida County ; trus- 
tee, William Jenkins et al. 

Idaho Land and Irrigation Company, Bois6 City, Ada County ; trustees, A. II. 
Boomer, John Hailey, et al. 

Idaho Ditch Company, Bois6 City, Ada County ; trustees, Barrett Williams, Robert 
M.Allen, et al. 

The Idaho Agricultural Park Association, Bois6 City, Ada County; trustees, John 
Hailey, John Earley, et al. 

The Idaho and Oregon Land Improvement Company, Denver, Colo. ; trustees, Will- 
iam G. Case, Robert E. Strahorn, et al. 

Idaho Mining and Irrigation Company, New York City, N. Y. ; trustees, George A. 
Pope, C. H. Tompkins, et al. 

The Lower Payette Ditch Company, Emery School House, Ada County ; trustees, 
S. M. King, David Garric, et al. 

The Lemhi Valley Milling Company, Salmon City, Lemhi County ; trustees, Robert 
Dunlap, George Steel, et al. 

The Murray Water Company, Murray, Shoshone County ; trustees, E. II. Moffit etal. 

The Middletown Water Company, Ada County ; trustees, J. Brumback et al. 

The Middle Valley Irrigating Ditch Company, Middle Valley, Washington County ; 
trustees, Lee Ross et al. 

The Middleton Canal and Irrigation Company, Ada County; trustees, Hawkins 
Shelton et al. 

The Malad Valley Artesian Well Company, Malad City, Oneida County ; trustees, 
H. W. Smith et al. 


The Malad Irrigating Company, Malad City, Oneida County ; trustees, Henry Peck, 
et al. 

The Ovid Agricultural and Irrigating Company, Ovid, Bear Lake County ; trustees, 
T. C. Peterson et al. 

The Oakley and Lower Goose Creek Canal and Irrigating Ditch Company, Cassia 
County ; trustees, H. M. Thatcher et al. 

The Oneida Reservoir and Irrigation Company, Oneida County ; trustees, Joseph W 
Morgan et al. 

The Preston and Montpelier Irrigation Company, Paris, Bear Lake County ; trus- 
tees, John Bagley et al. 

The Pierce and Cox Irrigating Ditch Company, Boise Valley, Ada County ; trus- 
tees, John W. Pierce et al. 

Rushville Irrigation Company, Rushville, Oneida County ; trustees, W. C. Davis, 
Nelson Carlson, et al. 

Raft River Land and Cattle Company, Salt Lake City, Utah ; trustees, W. S. McCor- 
nich, Thomas Keogh, et al. 

The Sublett Creek Irrigating Company, Sublett Creek, Oneida County ; trustees, 
John S Smith, John Galliher, et al. 

The Saint John Irrigating Company, Saint John, Oneida County ; trustees, Charles 
Dunander, Thomas Stephens, et al. 

The Samaria Lake Irrigating Company, Muddy Creek, Oueida County ; trustees, A. 
C. Hoskins, Joseph Harris, et al. 

The Shoshone Water Works Company, Shoshone, Alturas County ; trustees, E. C. 
Helfrich, J. M. S. Hickey, et al. 

The Settlers Ditch Company, Boise' City, Ada County ; trustees, R. M. Purdam, 
Fremont Wood, et al. 

The Thomas Fork Irrigating Company, Webster's Ranche, Bear Lake County; trus- 
tees, Constant Webster, Lee Hart, et al. 

Valley Water Works Company, Ketchum, Alturas County ; trustees, J. J. Lewis, T: 
E. Cloheey, et al. 

Weston Smith Field Irrigating Company, Weston, Oneida County ; trustees, Henry 
Gassmau et al. 

Wood River Ditch Company, Bcllevue, Alturas County; trustees, John H. Harris 
et al. 

Weiser Water Company, Weiser City, Washington County ; trustees, J. M. Hart 
et al. 

The Wood River Land and Irrigation Company, Hailey, Alturas County; trustees, 
Edwin C. Coffin et al. 

The Warm Creek Irrigation Company, Oneida County ; trustees, William Nealy 
et al. 

The Weiser City Water, Ditch and Irrigating Company, Weiser City, Washington 
County; trustees, S. M. Jeffreys et al. 

The Weiser Canal and Irrigation Company, Washington County; trustees, Frank 
Harris et al. 

The Weston Irrigating Company, Weston, Oneida County ; trustees, A. W. Thomp- 
son, R. Campbell, et al. 


This portion of tbe State of Oregon is within the dry area, but as yet 
irrigation is almost unknown. The principal industry is that of stock 

The replies attached show how little progress has yet been made in 
agriculture proper. 

(1) Give location, geographical and postal, of yoar colony or enterprise ; area thereof , past 
and present, any fact* bearing thereon; also size of colony, farms, and ranches. 

Daniel Chaplin replies : 

The location is Grande Rondo Valley, Union County, Oregon ; post-office address, 
La Grande, Orcg. This is a private enterprise. The area is 3,000 acres, located cen- 
trally in this valley. Originally this was a sandy alkali plain, level, but too dry to 
be productive. Since irrigation was introduced it has not yet been cultivated in 
agricultural crops, but used as range for pasture. . It is all fenced with barbed wire ; 
we shall cultivate next year. 


I. K. Boruig, C. E., La Grande, Oregoo, replies: 

Our location is townships 16 and 17 in Baker County, Oregon ; the post-office is On- 
tari , Oreg. The area is 5,000 acres. There are six owners, each controlling 000 tc 
1,100 acres. 

O. M. Foster, C. E., replies : 

Location is Baker County, Oregon ; in the extreme eastern portion of the State. 
The area is 11,000 square miles. There are \o colonies. 

(2) Original value of land per acre, present selling price ; state if the purchase of land 

carries water also ; if not, rent or price of latter per acre. 

Daniel Chaplin replies : 

From Grande Ronde Valley, Union County, Oregon ; that th.3 original value was 
nothing; present selling price, $7 per acre ; water goes with the land, water rights 
being permanent. 

C. M. Foster, C. E., writes from Baker County : 

The original price of land was $1.25 acre. Present price, according to location, is 
from $4 to $25 per acre. Purchase of land carries all water rights pertaining thereto. 

A. W. Gowan, Joseph, Oregon, writes : 

The original value was about $1.25; value of improved land from $4 to $12.50 per 
acres ; it does not include water ditches as a rule. 

(3) Products of land ; amount, market, and average value of crops; how long planted ; ar 

fruits grown ? 

C. M. Foster, C. E., of Baker County, replies : 

Wheat gives 20 to 60 bushels per acre ; barley the same ; oats, 30 to 100 bushels ; 
potatoes, 200 to COO bushels. Wo depend chiefly on a home market. Value of grain 
from 1 cent to 1£ cents per pound. But little fruit raised, except small fruits. 

(4) Extent of irrigation works and their character; source of supply and method of dis- 

tribution ; cost and value of irrigation works; amount available at present and pros- 
pectively ; nature of works; service per acre; any general facts showing extent of 
works ; land areas, irrigable or non-irrigable, occupied for cultivation, used for cattle 
and sheep, cfc. 

Daniel Chaplin, from Grande Bonde Valley, Union County, says: 

Our irrigating canal is 8 miles long ; water is taken out of Grande Ronde River at 
Orodel, and passes through improved farms, which farms use but little water, as they 
are naturally moist enough, but the tract irrigated is in center of valley slightly ele- 
vated, and of a dry nature. 

C. M. Foster, C. E., Baker County, replies: 

Every farmer owns his own ditches and water rights. Water supply from streams 
distributed by ditches ; value of ditches in the county, $100,000. One hundred inches 
of water will irrigate 160 acres of land. Nine-tenths of all the land is used for pas- 
ture. There are in the county 200,000 cattle, 150,000 horses, 125,000 sheep. 

(5) Climatic conditions, temperature, and rainfall; results of observations, if any, as to 

the influence of irrigation on moisture of the earth or sky ; effects of irrigation on 
health, fertility of soil, $-c. 

C. M. Foster, C. E., writes: 

Climate dry and warm; no rain during summer months; summer heat as high as 
110°, while in winter the mercury falls as low as 10° below zero. Irrigation has no 
perceptible influence on health, and this is the only tract needing irrigation in this 
valley, which is 30 miles long by 15 miles wide ; it is situated in the Blue Mountains, 
Eastern Oregon. 


A. W. Gowan, of Joseph, says: 

We have sufficient rains and snow fall through the fall, winter, and spring seasons 
to supply the soil with moisture through the summer drought and insure certain 
crops every year. Irrigation injures our soil in this and the Grande ROnde Valleys, 
We usually have showers of rain through the summer season ; ordinarily temperate 
climate. Four or five days in mid-winter the mercury ranges from zero to 12° or 14° 

In mid-summer there are five to seven days when the temperature ranges from 90° 

I. K. Kooniig, civil engineer, La Grande, writes of the canal there : 

This enterprise, the Grande Ronde Canal, contemplates the reclaiming of 5,000 
acres of land by a ditch taken out of the Malheur River. The length of ditch will 
be betweeu 12 and 14 miles; capacity, 5,000 inches under a head of 4 inches. It is not 
supposed that 5,000 inches will be required for this enterprise, but as the ditch will 
cover some 3,000 acres of other lands requiring water for irrigation, it is intended to 
sell to others such water as they require. 

The estimated cost is $5,000 for main ditches. Water will be conveyed in small lat- 
eral ditches on to each 40 acres of land. The formation of the country allows us to 
run the main ditch on the west side of the land and at an elevation slightly above 
most of it. All lateral ditches will run north and northeast from the main ditch. 
This work will be done in the summer of 1886. The land is covered with sagebrush 
and a sandy soil in some places resembling an ash heap mixed with sand. With irri- 
gation the soil will x>roduce grain, such as oats and barley, with vegetables and fruits, 
including apples, pears, and peaches ; but it is especially adapted for alfalfa clover 
(in the estimation of the owners). 

There are some 200,000 acres adjoining, used as range for stock ; it will not pro- 
duce agricultural crops without irrigation, and is too rolling to be irrigated by any of 
the present methods; also too high above the water in streams. 


(l)Give location, geographical and postal, of your colony or enterprise; area thereof, past 
and present ; any facts bearing thereon; also size of colony, farms , and ranches. 

William J. McCormick writes : 

Missoula County, Montana, lies in the northwestern portion of the Territory. Its 
entire area is drained by the waters of the Columbia River and its tributaries" The 
arable lands constitute about one-third. The size of average farms is from 80 to G40 
acres. Missions were established in this part of Montana by the Jesuit fathers as 
early as 1837, and white settlere began to come in as early as 1850. The non-arable 
portion of the land is mountainous, covered with a heavy growth of pine, fir, tama- 
rack, and spruce timber. 

Hon. William B, Webb, secretary of the Territory, quotes from Henry 
W. Eowley, of Billings, as follows : 

Our colony is located in the Yellowstone River, in Yellowstone County, Montana. 
The principal town and post-office is Billings. The colony is located in what is known 
as Clark's Fork Bottom, being a strip of bottom land 35 miles iu length, varying in 
width from 1 to 10 miles, and containing 75,000 acres. Nearly all the, settlers have 
located here since the advent of the Northern Pacific Railroad, four years ago. Pop- 
ulation of Bottom at present, 2,500. Most of the colony farms contain 160 acres. 

(2) Original value of land per acre; present selling price ; state if the purchase of land 
carries water also; if not, rent or price of latter per acre. 

Hon. William B. Webb writes: 

The land was originally only useful for graziug purposes, and was worth about 50 
cents per acre for the whole season. 

William J. McCormick writes from Missoula : 

Titles to lands were and are acquired under the homestead and pre-emption laws. 
Improved farms are worth from $10 to $25 per acre. The purchase of land carries 
with it the right to use water from the mountain streams. 


(3) Products of land; amount, market, and average value of crops; hoiv long planted? 

Are fruits grown? 

William J. McCormick, Missoula, writes: 

Wheat, oats, barley, corn, rye, potatoes, turnips rutabaga, parsnips, cabbage, to- 
matoes, squashes, melons, cucumbers,, apples, pears, plums, cherries, and all the 
smaller fruits are grown here. The average yield per acre is as follows: Wheat, 30 
bushels; oats and barley, 75 bushels; rye, 40 bushels; potatoes, 300 bushels. From 
00 to 100 bushels of wheat have been raised upon a single acre of land. All crops 
are raised by irrigation. 

Hon. William B. Webb sends this information from Henry W. Bow- 
ley, engineer in charge of irrigation works at Billings : 

Wheat, oats, corn, potatoes, and all garden vegetables, can be grown here in abun- 
dance. Wheat yields from 30 to 40 bushels, and the rest in like proportion. Oats 
are worth on an average 50 cents per bushel. Potatoes 50 cents per bushel. Fruits 
of the smaller varieties are grown easily, and larger varieties can be raised. 

(4) Extent of irrigation works and their character; source of supply ; method of distribution 

cost and value of irrigation worlcs ; amount available at present and prospectively ; 
nature of works ; service per acre; any general facts shoiving extent of works, land 
areas, irrigable or non-irrigable occupied for cultivation, used for cattle and sheep, 4'c. 

Henry W. Rowley, engineer of irrigation works, Minnesota and Mon- 
tana Land and Improvement Company, Billings, replies: 

The bottom is irrigated by a system of ditches which take the water from the Yel- 
lowstone River, the largest one being 40 miles in length, 30 feet broad, aud 4 feet 
deep. About $120,000 have been spent in this bottom to prepare for irrigating the 
land, and there are now 60,000 acres, covered by ditches. The land is used princi- 
pally for raising hay and grain. Cattle and sheep are grazed in the hills further back 
from the river. 

William J. McCormick, writing from Missoula, says : 

We have no irrigating works. The process is simply tapping some mountain stream 
with a main ditch and distributing the same by smaller ditches where needed. Land 
thus irrigated is planted in grain, vegetables, timothy, clover, red top millet, &c. 

(5) Climatic conditions, temperature, and rainfall; results of observation, if any, as to the 

influence of irrigation on moisture of the earth or sky ; effects of irrigation on health, 
fertility of soil, <J'c 

Henry W. Rowley, engineer, anwers : 

The climate at Billings is exceedingly mild for this latitude ; we get an abundance 
of rain during May and June, but dry during the balance of the year. No perceptible 
effects as yet from irrigation ou the atmosphere. Irrigation has a marked effect on 
the fertility of the soil, the oldest land raising much the best crops. The climate for 
health could not be beateu. 

James Fergus, of Fort Maginnis, writes : 

It has been settled only a few years. What little farming is done so far is on land 
irrigated by the small streams that head in the mountain ranges. Very little of the 
bench or upland is fit for cultivation, and, on account of want of a market for grain, 
no effort has yet been made to cultivate and irrigate it on a large scale. Some effort 
has been made to grow fruits, particularly the hardier variety of apples, but they 
were nearly all killed last winter, not by the frost, however, so much as because the 
soil was too dry when it froze up. Experience has taught us, in this dry climate, 
that orchards must be thoroughly saturated in the fall to preserve the life of the trees 
during the winter. 

William J. McCormick writes from Missoula : 

It would be difficult to find in any latitude upon the American continent a climate 
superior to that of Western Montana. As to temperature, I may give you an instance. 
From the 7th of February, 1885, to the 16th of January, 1886, the mercury did not 
reach zero. This is latitude 46|, and at an altitude of 3,100 feet above sea level, chal- 
lenges comparison with any other. section of the continent. Irrigation has no per- 
ceptible effect upon the earth or sky, nor in any manner does it affect the sanitary 


condition of the climate. It fertilizes the soil by depositing sediment down from the 
mountain slopes during the gradual melting of the snows under the warming in- 
fluences of the sun, in the months of June and July, the season of promoting vegetation 
by irrigation. 


There are no replies to the Department circulars, but reports made 
in 1885 indicate that the agricultural products of Nevada are sufficient 
for home consumption. At the Truckee meadows, and in Mason Valley, 
irrigation has already put farming operations on a solid foundation. 
Along the entire line of the Humboldt Valley its effects are seen. The 
chief of the Piutes cultivates successfully a farm of 160 acres. 

At Lovelock's, in Northern Nevada, 50,000 acres are occupied, and 
about 9,000 are now in a state of high cultivation. During the year 
named there were over 50.000 acres cultivated in wheat and barley, 
100,000 acres in hay, 2,000 acres in potatoes, yielding annually 60,000 
bushels of the finest quality, while oats, rye, corn, and all cereals and 
vegetables peculiar to the temperate zone are grown in large quantities. 
Besides this fruits are raised in many parts of the State, and yield 
abundantly. As a pastoral region Nevada promises to be unsurpassed. 
The estimated number of cattle is 700,000; of sheep, 300,000; and of 
horses, 70,000 head. 


Give location, geographical and postal, of your colony or enterprise; area thereof, past and 
present; any facts hearing thereon; also size of colony, farms, and ranches. 

A. C. Beckwith, Evanston, Uinta County, writes : 

My desert-land claim is located about 50 miles in a northerly direction from Evans- 
ton, Uinta County, Wyoming, and contains about 640 acres. 

Hon. M. F. Benefiel, Big Horn, says : 

Our farms are located on the headwaters of Little Goose Creek, and our ditch is 
constructed to carry the water from Hurllmt Creek (one of the tributaries of Little 
Goose Creek) to our farms. We have an incorporated company, and have a 400-inch 
water right recorded. Present value of ditch and water right is about $800. 

Thomas Sturgis, Cheyenne, writes : 

The land and irrigation works of the Wyoming Development Company are situ- 
ated 60 miles north and slightly west of the town of Cheyenne, in Laramie County. 

The office of the company is in Cheyenne ; post-office address of superintendent, on 
the lands, Bordeaux, Wyoming. The lands eventually to be irrigated wiUjapproximate 
50,000 acres, and sufficient water can now be furnished colonists, but no settlements 
have yet been made, the irrigation works ITeing but just completed. 

Original value of land per acre ; present selling price ; state if the purchase of land carries 
ivater also ; if not, rent or price of latter per acre. 

A. C. Beckwith, Evanston, writes : 

I suppose land was originally worth the Government price of $1.25 per acre, and it 
has cost about $8 per acre to reclaim it. 

Thomas Sturgis writes : 

Original value $1.25 per acre. None sold as yet. Land will probably be sold by it- 
self on several years' time at low interest. Water will be rented according to acreage 
farmed by each settler from year to year. Rate of water, $1 to $1.25 per acre per an- 
num for land farmed. 

M. F. Benefiel, Big Horn, Johnson County, writes : 

The length of main ditch is about 2| miles. The stream is supplied with water from 
the melting snow in the mountains. There is the most water in the latter part of 


May and the least in September. The amount varies from about 75 inches to about 
400 inches. This helps to water 480 acres of laud, but is not sufficient to irrigate 
properly more than one-third of that amount. There are several thousand acres in 
this locality which might be made valuable if there were sufficient water for it. 

Extent of irrigation works and their character ; source of supply, method of distribution; 
cost and vcdue of irrigation works; amount available at present and prospectively ; na- 
ture of works ; service per acre ; any general facts showing extent of works ; land area, 
irrigable or non-irrigable, occupied for cultivation, used for cattle and sheep, $-c. 

Thomas Sturgis, Cheyenne, writes : 

These irrigation works are probably the largest in the country, and have been very 
costly ; $250,000 have been already expended. The principal features are a rock tun- 
nel, 3,000 feet long and 8 by 7 feet in diameter; one canal 23 miles long, 32 feet in 
width at top, and 27 feet at bottom. Another canal of nearly similar dimensions and 
lateral canals of proportionate extent and size are in use. The sources of supply are 
the Laramie River and Saville Creek. It is thought the present main works, with ad- 
ditional laterals, will fully supply the lands. Probably four-fifths of the lauds can 
be irrigated and used for farming. The remainder can be grazed. The average rain- 
fall is light — 12 to 15 inches. Temperature, winter, from —20° to 40° above ; sum- 
mer, 50° to 80°. Natural moisture entirely insufficient for any agriculture. Good 
degree of fertility developed by artificial irrigation. No statistics as to health or as 
to increase of rainfall by surface irrigation. The lands will produce all small grains 
and grasses which can endure the winter temperature of this latitude (41 degrees), and 
of this altitude (5,000 feet). Wheat, oats, barley, and alfalfa do well. No fruits have 
been tried. Some small tracts have been sown with wheat and oats, but none mar- 
keted. Distance from railroad (60 miles) will affect values materially. 

Our enterprise is the first organized and extensive effort in this Territory to reclaim 
a sufficient tract to support a farming community. The want of an agricultural in- 
terest is greatly felt. All cereals are now imported. The streams which supply 
enough water for any important amount of land are very few and far apart. They 
flow frequently for many miles through inaccessible cations. The expense of getting 
the water out of its natural bed is great, and owing to the volume of water which 
pours from the mountains in the spring, the dams must be built by skillful engineers 
and of great strength and proportionate cost. Owing to the broken nature of the 
country it is rare to find any considerable body of land at a suitable level and of such 
comparative smoothness as to repay the expense of getting water on to it. This fact 
has prevented, and will continue to prevent, any great number of enterprises like that 
of this company. It is seldom that so large an amount of money can be drawn into an 
enterprise which at the best is a doubtful one, offering in any event very moderate 
returns; and the proportion of land throughout this Territory which combines the 
necessary conditions, and which can at the same time be reached by canals the sup- 
plying stream of which is sufficiently prominent and powerful for the wants of the 
lands, is very small indeed. The work of the Wyoming Development Company has 
been conducted on strictly business principles, every dollar of outlay and expenses 
being supplied in actual cash. While its result must be of vast benefit to the commu- 
nity at large, it is quite probable that the chief return to the promoters of it will be 
of an indirect character. 

Hon. S. W. Downey, of Laramie, writes the Department as follows : 

The southern part of Wyoming is watered in part by the Big and Little Laramie 
Rivers and their tributaries. But a small amount of land along the margins of the 
streams receives any benefit, as the most of the land is in a barren or desert condition, 
and must be irrigated to produce crops. Irrigation has been carried on for some ten 
or twelve years on a limited scale, but more interest has been awakened on this sub- 
ject recently. The Pioneer Land Company about five years ago began the construc- 
tion of a canal beginning in Township 14 North, Rannge 76 West, and tapping the 
Big Laramie River as it issues from the mountaians. 

As each alternate section has been held under the Union Pacific Railroad grant, it 
has been impossible to enlist capital in an enterprise through which that company 
would be benefited without any outlay. The railroad lands have recently been dis- 
posed of to the Wyoming Central Land and Improvement Company, and this corpora- 
tion has leased this canal, and propose to enlarge it to a width of 30 or 40 feet and 
continue it for a number of miles beyond its present length — 30 miles. Other parties 
have constructed ditches which are now in process of construction at an outlay of 
many thousands of dollars, tapping the waters of the Laramie River and Saville Creek. 
It is believed that many acres of land will be irrigated in the coming year, the im- 
possibility of obtaining titles to large tracts of land having been the principal difficulty 
heretofore. Competent engineers are confident that much of the plains can be brought 


under cultivation, and although the altitude prevents the maturing of the products 
of the soil, except hardy vegetables, hay, and cereals, many of these will be in good 
demand at fair prices. 

The irrigation laws are very simple, and merely vest the right to water in the prior 
appro priator. 

I have two artesian wells, one about 1 mile south of Laramie anil one about 15 
miles southwest of that city, the former beiug 165 feet and the latter about 80 feet 
deep. The pipe is 4 inches in diameter, and the flow constant in all seasons of the 
year. I am not able to give the capacity and velocity, but they have been throwing 
solid streams of pure water without cessation for about thirty months. It is impos- 
sible to state what the effect will be on the climate or humidity of the atmosphere, 
until a number of others are sunk. This elevation is 7,000, feet on an average, above 
sea-level. Artesian wells can be sunk in many portions of the plains and foot-hills, 
and the water stored for irrigating lands not otherwise susceptible of irrigation. 

Other enterprises in this Territory have offered such inducements to capital that 
the capabilities of irrigation have been overlooked, but now that titles can be ob- 
tained to railroad as well as Government lands, we confidently expect to show great 
results in the near future. 

The water, climate, and resources of the Territory. 

The following paragraphs from the governor's message, 1884, contains 
a summary of the salient and comprehensive facts regarding Wyoming. 

The Territory adjoins Utah and Colorado on the northern border, Montana on its 
southern border, Dakota and Nebraska on their western*, borders, and Idaho and 
Utah on their eastern borders. Its area is nearly 100,000 square miles. It is one and 
a half times the size of NewEngland. Its population is about 40,000, more than one- 
half of which is in the towns on the line of the Union Pacific Railroad with its 
branches, the Oregon Short Line and the Denver Pacific, the only railroad in Wyom- 

Stock raising is the chief industry, comparing with all others about as 90 per cent, to 
10 ; capable men estimate the cultivable land of the Territory at 8,000,000 acres. As 
yet, however, farming is done on a limited scale, and no farm produce is shipped from 
the Territory. 

The mean elevation of Wyoming is 6,400 feet above the sea level. The Rocky 
Mountains traverse the Territory from the northwest to the southeast in irregular 
ranges. The general face of the country is mountainous, interspersed with extensive 
plains. The soils range from desert lands to loams of the first quality. 

The climate is remarkable. The air is pure, light, and dry. The average rain fall 
in Wyoming is not one-fourth that in the Mississippi River Basin ; irrigation is there- 
fore depended upon for the raising of crops. The winters are open ; there are but few 
snow-storms, and the strong winds which form a feature of the climate usually clear 
away the fallen snow in a few days. The nights in summer are uniformily cool ; the 
thermometer seldom marks above 90° in the day. 

Perhaps no other portion of the United States west of the Missouri River is so well 
watered as this Territory, which is a portion of the continental divide, and hence a 
a grand water-shed, sending many streams both eastward and westward, and inclos- 
ing many minor water-sheds, which afford drainage in every other direction. Thus 
the central, middle, eastern, and southeastern portions are remarkably watered and 
drained by the North Platte and its great affluents, the Big and Little Laramie and 
the Sweetwater, with their numberless branches, waters, which after flowing first in 
a northerly, then northeasterly, then southeasterly course, finally make their way 
into the Missouri through Southeastern Nebraska. Northeastern Wyoming is watered 
by the forks of the Cheyenne, which, embracing the Black Hills, empty into the Mis- 
souri within the Territory of Dakota, and by the Powder, w T ith its many branches 
ilowing northeastward into the Yellowstone. The middle, northern, and northwest- 
ern portions of the Territory are traversed by the Tongue, Big Horn, Yellowstone, 
and Snake, which make their way through the Missouri and Columbia into the Gulf 
of Mexico and the Pacific, respectively. The southwestern portions are watered by 
the Green and Bear Rivers, the former emptying into the Gulf of California, and the 
latter into the Great Salt Lake, of Utah. The rivers which are at once the largest 
and most important, as watering very large areas, are the North Platte, Powder, 
Green, and Big Horn. 

Of artesian wells the message says : 

The great success which has attended the sinking of artesian wells in Denver and 
a few points in Wyoming has led to the hope that artesian water may be found at 


many other points in the Rocky Mountain region. A well was sunk a few years ago 
at Fort D. A. Russell, 3 miles from Cheyenne, to a depth of several hundred feet, but 
no flow of water was secured. The Union Pacific Railroad Company sunk a well last 
year at Green River, but failed to strike a subterranean basin of water. But these 
failures have not had the effect of preventing other efforts with the same object in 
view. An artesian well is now being sunk at a ranch 9 miles from Cheyenne, the in- 
tention of the owners being to bore into the earth at least, 500 feet in search of a flow- 
ing well. There is a flowing well at Rawlins, and at Laramie City there are two. 

The unequal elevation of the various parks and plateaus of Wyoming gives rise to 
the belief that underground basins of water exist beneath those haviug an altitude 
less than others in the same region, and that wherever the basins find their origin 
there is exerted sufficient hydrostatic pressure to carry water above the surface of the 
lower plaues. 

Pure water brought to the earth's surface by artesian wells would be of great 
benefit in these districts of Wyoming, where the surface-water is impregnated with 
alkali and unfit for potable purposes. It would also render possible the raising of 
much additional live stock in locations where there is a scarcity of surface-water. 
Experiments for the purpose of ascertaining where artesian water is obtainable in 
Wyoming would be work appropriate to the care of the General Government, with 
a view to improving the value of its public lands. 

The governor continues : 

The one prime drawback to the development of the farming regions of Wyoming 
has been the lack of railroad facilities. The country through which the Union Pa- 
cific Railroad runs in Wyoming bears an appearance calculated to lead the observer 
to believe that, while live stock may thrive in Wyoming, the raising of crops is well 
nigh an impossibility. In the northern part of the Territory, however, there is a 
large area lying at an altitude but half as great as that through which the railroad 
passes, and to that region immigrants are being attracted by a soil and climate not 
excelled in any other section of the country. In Middle Wyoming, along the Platte 
River and its tributaries chiefly, large tracts of land are now being put under irriga- 
tion by companies which are managed by men whose experience leads them to believe 
that large dividends await those who invest in Wyoming lands, and even in Southern 
Wyoming, in lands situated in the midst of that bleak prospect viewed by the over- 
land traveler to the Pacific slope, crops have been raised, especially during the past 
year, which inspire the liveliest hopes of successful farming upon them in the future. 

The following is a list of the irrigation companies incorporated in 
Wyoming up to January, 1884 : 

The Hulbert Creek Ditch Company. 

The Upper Goose Creek Ditch and Irrigation Company. 

The White and Jackson Creek Ditch Company. 

The Big Piney and Prairie Dog Ditch and Tunnel Company. 

The Trabing Ditch Company. 

The North Piney and Prairie Dog Irrigation Canal and Tunnel Company. 

The Wyoming Five-Mile Ditch Company. 

The Upper East Side Goose Creek Ditch and Irrigation Company. 

The Wyoming Improvement Company. 

The Chugwater Ditch and Irrigation Company. 

The East Side Ditch and Irrigation Company. 

The Hellman Ditch and Irrigation Company. 

The Wyoming Development Company. 

The Rutledge and Hellman Ditch Company. 

The North Platte Irrigation and Ditch Company. 

The Goshen Hole Ditch Company. 

The McKuen Ditch and Reservoir Company. 

The tracts of land which these companies intend watering, or are al- 
ready watering in some cases, lie mostly in Laramie and Johnson Coun- 
ties. The streams from which they take their water are Horse Creek, 
Chugwater Creek, Laramie River and Platte Piver, in Laramie County, 
and Goose Creek, Prarie Dog Creek. Clear Creek, and other smaller 
creeks in Johnson County. 




Most of the facts accessible to the Department in relation to irri- 
gation in the Great Salt Lake Basin have been given in another part 
of this report. The following table, from a report of the department 
of public works and irrigation, prepared in 1875 and published in the 
Legislative Journal in 1870, contains statistics which, notwithstanding 
that they refer to a somewhat remote period, are of sufficient value to 
be presented in this connection : 

Statistics of public works and irrigation, 1875. 

Trunk irrigating 


Total cost of irri- 
gation canals, 
including cost 
of lepairs for 




+=> . 
co co 
o w 




_. © 

£ o 

oo :_, 
co Q 











© a 









$3, 200 00 

25, 280 00 

200, 000 00 

14, 300 00 

50, 000 00 

55, 500 00 

33, 560 00 

32, 000 00 

150 00 

150, 220 00 

9, 500 00 

17, 500 00 

4, 000 00 

9, 000 00 

251, 657 05 

386, 700 00 

1, 000 00 

560, 867 79 

42, 240 00 

71, 500 00 




$2, 250 00 
8, 275 00 
28, 800 00 
28, 520 00 
10, 000 00 

$8,450 00 

34, 556 00 

229, 800 00 

57, 120 00 

65, 000 00 

57, 600 00 

55, 560 00 

48, 000 00 

450 00 

150, 220 00 

18, 700 00 

20, 000 00 

8, 000 00 

15, 700 00 

268, 540 05 

592, 700 00 

2, 500 00 

683, 422 79 

128, 460 00 

82, 900 00 

$3, 000 00 
1,001 00 
1, 000 00 

14, 300 00 
5, 000 00 
2, 100 00 

10, 000 00 
....... — .. 

$435, 032 00 

833, 796 00 

415, 400 00 

666, 820 00 

2, 152, 800 00 

1, 783, 600 00 

202, 132 00 

428, 896 00 

70, 000 00 

293, 484 00 

171, 495 00 

450, 000 00 

755, 212 00 

1, 023, 152 00 

1 pi 5 asfi nn 






. 50 

Eox Elder 





12, 000 00 

16, 000 00 

300 00 











8, 500 00 
2, 500 00 
2, 000 00 
6, 700 00 

700 00 


2, 000 00 




16 883 00 






194, 000 00 

1, 500 00 

94, 555 00 

79. 520 00 

7, 900 00 

12 000 00 i 195> onn no 



132,220 00 

7, 258, 856 00 

318, 692 00 

587, 380 00 


Salt Lake 

28, 000 00 
6, 700 00 
3, 500 00 





2, 095A 

1, 918, 174 84 

4, 888| 

503, 320 00 

2, 527, 678 84 

106, 184 00 

20, 986, 947 00 


a . 




© a 









© „fH 








rd no- 
es a 




n ft 


fi co 

CO £*f 
W,M <5 


a * 



o . 





OX.O a 




m u 

,2 bD 







13, 420 
3, 540 


3, 500 

1, 557 











3, 332 

12, 935 

15, 306 
























Eox Elder 









































Salt Lake 












77, 525 

35, 706 

87, 774 

21, 7G1 











In the general plan of irrigation now adopted in Utah there has been 
no attempt made to establish a definite "duty of water." One cubic 
foot per second is considered sufficient to serve 80 acres. But it is 
conceded on all hands that the amount of land served by the same 
ditches is very much larger in area than formerly. The cause of this 
cannot be an increased rainfall, for the records show, if anything, a very 
slight decrease. Here, as elsewhere in the arid region, immigration 
and irrigation have preceded modifications of atmospheric phenomena, 
as showu, for example, in the presence of dew where it was unknown 
before. This, however, is so slight as not to account for the extension 
iu area of the "duty of water." 

- The reason will be found, doubtless, in the increase of terrene humid- 
ity. The saturation of the subsoils by the constant "seepage" of the 
water laid on the surface with the capillary power of plant life in draw- 
ing to the surface the subterrene waters with which the arid intra- 
mountain region seems to be so largely endowed are the main causes 
of the larger economy of water duty. Of course this is aided by a more 
careful and intelligent use of the water. The time system in vogue in 
Utah has helped to increase this skill. Colonel Nettleton, State engi- 
neer of Colorado, says: 

It is well worth our while to carefully notice two very remarkable results which 
have been developed by the Utah method of dealing out water ; these arc, first, secur- 
ing the greatest duty of a ditch, and, second, the development of quite a high duty 
of the water carried by the ditch. The first is secured by the hour rotation or time 
method, which requires the users to take the water belonging to them at such days 
and hours as are designated by the water-master, be it night or day. By the enforce- 
ment of this requirement, it is estimated that the effectual capacity of a ditch or canal 
is fully doubled over what it would be by the all-at-one-time using system. (Colorado 
State Report for 1883-'84, page 76.) 

This horary or time system is the plan long in use in Northern Italy. 
The following form of a distribution table will illustrate how it works 
in Utah: 

Hourly distribution table for the year of the water of the 

ditch, carrying 

cubic feet per second, of which the period of rotation is eight natural days or one hun- 
dred' and ninety-two hours : 


Name of irrigators. 

of hours 
for each. 

Commencement of horary distri- 

Termination of horary distri- 









April 1 

April 1 

April 2 

April 3 

April 4 

April 4 

April 5 

April 6 

April 7 

April 8 

April 1. 
April 2. 
April 3. 
April 4. 
April 4. 
April 5. 
April 6. 
April 7. 
April 8. 
April 9. 



10 u. m 













12 m 



12m.. . 

7 a. m 





Note. — The rotation again commences in the same order with A, 



Uuder date of January 22, 1886, Governor Eoss, of New Mexico, 
wrote that — 

We have no established system of irrigation. The natives of the Territory farm 
entirely by irrigation, but they have no organized companies, the work being clone 
in primitive ways by neighborhood and individual effort, making it impossible to 
procure any official or reliable data. A few American companies have been organized 
in the past year or two, of which I am able to give you the following addresses: 

Ira E. Leonard, Socorro ; General R. E. Carr, Santa Fd ; Hon. F. A. Manzanaros, Las 
Vegas; Greylands Ditch Company, Lookout, Lincoln County; McDermott Irrigating 
Ditch Company, La Plata Valley, Rio Arriba County; Rio Grande Irrigating and 
Ditch Company (care W. R. Childers), Albuquerque ; Albuquerque Irrigating and 
Ditch Improvement Company (care R. H. Greenleaf), Albuquerque. 

(1) Give location, geographical and postal, of your colony or enterprise ; area thereof, past 
and present ; any facts bearing thereon ; also size of colony, farms, and ranches. 

E. Gillett, Socorro, writes: 

Socorro County is between longitude 106° and 111° ; latitude, between 30 Q and 35°. 
The altitude is 4, COO feet. I contino my report to a tract of 20 miles in length, within 
the Rio Grande Valley. It is 5 miles in width, which is about the width of the valley. 
Average size of ranches, 20 acres. 

P. A. Simpson, Socorro, writes: 

The location is central New Mexico, The post-office is Socorro, Socorro County. 
It was settled in 1549, afterwards abandoned, destroyed by Indians, and recolonized 
in 1816. Farms vary in size from 1 to 100,000 acres. Average size of ranches, 20 

Alex. Gusdorf, Taos Valley, writes : 

The Ranchos de Taos is located in Taos Valley, Taos County. There is also Las 
Cordovas and Ranchito. These have a population, respectively, of 1,300, 400, and 
gOO, having under cultivation somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000, 2,000, and 4,000 
acres, respectively ; all are under ditch and subject to irrigation. 

(2) Original value of land per acre; present selling price ; state if the purchase of land 

carries water also ; if not, rent or price of latter per acre. 

Alex. Gusdorf writes from Taos Valley : 

The value of land under cultivation ranges from $10 to $30 per acre, according to 
quality and locations ; ditches are mostly owned by the community. The land has 
been cultivated nearly two hundred years. 

P. A. Simpson, Socorro, writes: 

Land is worth from 50 cents to $200 per acre. Water for irrigating ditches can be 
obtained by all land owners by working the same once a year. 

E. Gillett, Socorro, writes : 

The value of land carrying water is about $50 per acre. Rent for water is $5 per 

(3) Products of land, amount, market and average value of crops ; how long planted, Are 

fruits groivn ? 

E. Gillett, of Socorro, writes : 

Corn yields 25 bushels; wheat, 20 bushels; oats, 30 bushels; barley, 20 bushels; 
and peas, 55 bushels per acre. The average value is 1 and 1£ cents per pound. 
Length of time planted, five months. Cabbage, beets, tomatoes, turnips, melons, 
sweet potatoes are also grown. Also fruits of all kinds. 


P. A. Simpson, of Socorro, writes : 

Our products are corn, "wheat, oats, barley, cotton, hemp, flax, tobacco, and hops. 
All the vegetables and fruits of the temperate and semi-tropical zones thrive and 
yield profusely. 

Alex. Gusdorf writes from Taos Valley : 

Wheat, corn, oats, peas, and all kinds of vegetables are grown. Wheat will aver- 
age 20 bushels, corn 25, and oats 30 per acre, the value being 75 cents for wheat and 
corn, and (50 cents for oats per bushel. The lands have been farmed for nearly two 
hundred years. Formerly it was thought fruits could not be raised, but I find apples, 
pears, plums, cherries, and all hinds of small fruits are doing well, and a great many 
trees have been planted in the last ten years. 

(4) Extent of irrigation ivories and their character ; source of supply, method of distribution ; 

cost and value of irrigation ivories ; amount available at present and prospectively ; 
nature of works ; service per acre ; any general facts showing extent of works, land 
areas, irrigable or non-irrigable, occupiedfor cultivation, used for cattle and sheep, $c. 

Alex. Gusdorf, Toas Yalley, writes : 

All land under cultivation has to be irrigated, and all the farming settlements have 
community ditches, with a never-failing supply of water from the Rio Grande de Taos, 
the Pueblo, Rio Chequito, and Taos Creek. There is a great deal of land which could 
bo brought under cultivation by putting up reservoirs along the river banks. Irriga- 
tion costs about $2 per acre during the season. 

P. A. Simpson writes from Socorro. 

Irrigation works consist of common ditches only. They convey the water to and 
on the cuitivated lands bordering on the Rio Grande and other streams. The plains 
are used for grazing stock, and the mountains yield, besides minerals, abundant and 
nutritious grasses to goats and sheep. 

E. Gillett, Socorro, writes : 

The extent of irrigating ditches is SOmiles. Their average width is 10 feet ; depth, 
4 feet. The supply is the Rio Grande. In distributing you take as much as you need. 
Ditches cost $10,000 ; present value, $25,000"; area available, 5,000 acres ; prospectively, 
15,000 acres. 

(5) Climatic conditions, temperature, and rainfall ; results of observations, if any, as to the 

influence of irrigation on moisture of the earth or sky; effects of irrigation on health, 
fertility, $-c. 

P. A. Simpson, Socorro, writes: 

The climate is mild and equable ; snow and rainfall light. Seasons are divided into 
dry and rainy ; the latter lasts about six weeks. 

Alex. Gusdorf, Taos Yalley, writes : 

Our climate is splendid; the lowest temperature ever seen here, and that this 
winter, was 4° below zero, and the highest ever known was 96° in the shade. Rain- 
fall has changed some in later years. Formerly we had no rains in spring and not 
until August. The last few seasons we have had considerable rain during May 
and June. 

E. Gillett writes from Socorro : • 

Mild temperature, ranging from zero to 90° above. Rain falls about four times in 
twelve months. I don't know of any influence irrigation has on moisture of the earth 
and sky or on health. Muddy water is considered good for light or sandy soil as a 

B. Eosenfeld, Georgetown, Grant County, makes the following reply: 

There are 30,000 acres of irrigated land in this county. This county comprises 

18,000 square miles, of which area fully one-fourth could, with proper water facilities, 

be made productive. As it is, regular farming is carried on only along the Mimbres 

and Gila Rivers, The extent of canals and laterals is about 300 miles, These ditches 

S. Mis. 15 8 


are mostly comnmnifcy-ownecl ; tliere are some private ditches. There are one, two, 
and even more ditches in every township, and where practicable, that many on each 
side of the stream. I could not get any data about cost, as everybody living along 
the course of a ditch and using water from it, even if only for household purposes, 
is required to perform his pro rata labor on the ditch, as regulated by local custom. 
Wells are mostly used for stock. One artesian, the first, is now being bored at Dem- 
ing. Land under irrigation is not flooded in one body, but shortly after planting it 
is laid off in parcels in order to take advantage of the irregularities of the soil. Thus 
each parcel has to be bordered, and, when irrigated, has to be flooded in its turn. 
This is necessarily a very slow and tedious process, and makes it almost impossible to 
determine the quantitative duty of water. This peculiarity of our system makes farm- 
ing so costly here as to exclude every thought of competing with Kansas, and our 
farmers are satisfied when their grain crop pays their store bills, trusting to poultry, 
hogs, and gardening for their profits. 


H. M. Gregg, of Spearfish, urites : 

Upon the discovery of gold mines in the Black Hills in 1875 the valleys lying at the 
base of the Hills were settled by farmers from the Western States and Territories. 
The lands were located in conformity with the land laws of the United States. 

The farms average about 320 acres, about one-half of each in the valleys being good 
agricultural land. These valleys are watered by streams rising in the Black Hills, 
the water of which is pure and cold. The present selling price of improved farms, is 
about $10 per acre in the valleys where irrigation can be used. Desirable farms of 160 
acres, lying in the Spearfish Valley, have been sold for $20 per acre. 

All the small grains of the Northern States grow well here, notably wheat and oats. 

The nights being cool at all seasons of the year, corn cannot be said to be a good 
crop, although a good crop is made in favorable seasons. 

The mines in the Hills are our market, and prices are good. 50 bushels of oats to 
the acre is a fair yield. 

Wheat will average 22 bushels, although 36 bushels are grown on many farms. All 
the hardy vegetables, such as potatoes, cabbage, turnips, beans, peas, melons, squashes, 
cucumbers, and tomatoes, grow in great quantity and of superior quality. 

Fruit raising is yet in an experimental state. Much trouble has been experienced 
with Eastern-grown trees. This we hope to overcome when trees are grown from the 
seed here. Tame currants, raspberries, gooseberries, strawberries, &c, thrive and 
bear fruit in great profusion. 

The irrigating ditches are owned by the farmers who own the land ; sometimes four 
or five who own adjoining farms club together and construct ditches carrying 1,000 or 
2,000 inches of water, the source of supply being the streams running through the 
valleys, which have a fall of about 50 feet to the mile. 

Ditches are connected with the stream and have a regular grade of about one-third 
inch to the rod, which admits of their soon reaching the higher points in the valley. 
From the ditches the water is distributed over the cultivated fields by furrows, run in 
such a manner that the water will run slowly, and not cut or wash away the loose 
soil. With 100 miner's inches of water (1,250 gallons per minute) and the labor of one 
man to attend to distributing the same, 10 acres per day can be thoroughly irrigated. 
In ordinary seasons a crop of small grain should be irrigated twice. 

Owing to the altitude, the dryness of the atmosphere, and the purity of the water, 
no danger to the health of residents in the irrigated districts need be apprehended. 

As a fertilizer nothing can compare with water. All things being equal, irrigated 
and will produce double the amount that unirrigated land can be made to produce. 

D. T. Harrison, Minnesela, Butte County, Dakota, writes : 

Minnesela is the county seat of Butte County ; it is located on the Red Water, out 
of which water is taken in many ditches for 20 miles above, and 10 below Minnesela, 
covering many thousands of acres of land, mostly owned by farmers in 160 to 480 
acre tracts. 

Many improved farms are now held at from $20 to §30 per acre. 

They will produce all kinds of grain and vegetables that grow in any of the North- 
ern States. As they have been only four or five years in cultivation, fruits are not 
grown extensively. Wheat yields 20 to 35 bushels per acre, at $1 per bushel ; oats 30 
to 80 bushels per acre, at 75 cents per bushel ; potatoes 100 to 300 bushels per acre, at 
60 cents per bushel. 

Ditches are taken out of Red Water and its tributaries, costing from §500 to $5,000 
each. They are owned by private parties and corporations. 


The stream runs many thousand inches more than is used. The climate is very 

Irrigation has no perceptible effect on the moisture of earth or sky, and none on 
health. It increases the fertility of the soil very much, and is equal to a good coating 
of manure, outside of the benefit derived from the use of water. 


(1) Give location, geographical and postal, of your colony or enterprise; area thereof, past 

and present ; any facts bearing thereon ; also size of colony, farms, and ranches. 

William A. Hemrick writes from Fhosuix, Maricopa County : 

Phcenix is situated on the north side of Salt River, about 14 miles north of east 
from the junction. We have no colony, in the common acceptation of the term. Wo 
have a very prosperous county. The area of the agricultural part of the valley is 10 
by 40 miles. The first settlement here was in 1867, and we now have 10,000 people. 

I. Brooks, Florence, Pinal County, writes : 

I am located in Pinal County, which is about the center of the Territory. Farms 
range from 40 acres to 640 acres. The land is prairie, farmed mostly by inexperienced 
hands. Well farmed it will yield everything in abundance (Irish potatoes and apples 

E. D. Tuttle, Safford, Graham County, writes : 

My location is in that portion of the Gila Valley known as the " Pueblo Viejo, " or 
"Old Villages." It is in Southeastern Arizona, Graham County. Post-offices: Solo- 
monville, SaiFord, Pima, and Fort Thomas. Length of valley from the canon at the 
western or lower end, where the Gila River cuts through the Pinal or Graham range 
of mountains, just below the San Carlos Indian Agency, to its eastern or upper end 
at the narrows, where the river cuts through the Gila range of mountains, is about 75 
miles ; the average width of the arable land is 2 miles, making about 150 square miles of 
arable land, not including small patches on the lateral streams. The size of farms is 
generally 160 acres, according to Government subdivisions. 

(2) Original value of land per acre ; present selling price ; state if the purchase of land 

carries water also; if not, rent or price of latter per acre. 

William A. Hemrick writes : 

The Governmental price of land was $2.50 per acre; present selling price, from $10 
to $100 per acre, with water for irrigation. The coat of water per acre per annum 
varies in the different lands — seventy-five cents to $1.25 per acre. 

E. D. Tuttle answers : 

The present settlers mostly have their titles by entries made under the pre-emption, 
homestead, and desert-land laws. The price fixed by Government within railroad 
grant limits is $2.50 per acre. 

The settlers have constructed their own canals for irrigating. When lands are sold 
a right to vote goes with the land, otherwise the land would not sell for anything. 
No water is rented, as the land owners own their own water. Land with water rights 
is $5 to $10 per acre. 

I. Brooks writes : 

Improved farms with water to irrigate, $25 to $40 per acre. Some farmers have to 
rent water and it costs $1.50 per acre. 

(3) Products of land; anion nt,[mar1cet, and average value of crops! How long planted^. 

Are fruits grown f 

E. D. Tuttle writes : 

This being a semi-tropical climate the range of production is very great. Everything 
that will grow in any part of the United States, North or South, will grow here, with 
proper cultivation and attention. Corn, wheat, barley, oats, bean's, sorghum, and 
potatoes, both sweet and Irish, are the principal crops now grown. Corn and barley 



are mostly consumed by the Government posts. Prices: Corn, $1.50 per cental; bar- 
ley, $1.75 per cental; wheat, $1.50 per cental. Valley first settled in 1874, surveyed 
in 1875 and 1885. Fruits are grown in some of the colder orchards, most of the 
orchards are too young to bear. Late frosts cut off peaches and apricots occasionally. 
Quality of fruit good. 

William A. Herarick writes : 

Wheat averages 1,000 pounds ; barley 1,200 pounds per acre ; average price for the 
past three years about $1.10 per cental for barley, and $1.25 for wheat. Alfalfa yields 
7 tons per acre ; price, $5 in stack. All kinds of fruit are grown here and produce 
abundantly. This valley, Pueblo Viego, is especially adapted to the growth of al- 
falfa, or lucerne, and produces five crops of hay a year. Probably by irrigation all 
the tame grasses and clovers would thrive. They have not been yet tested. 

(4.) Extent of irrigation works and their character ; source of supply, method of distribu- 
tion; cost and value of irrigation works ; amount available at present and prospect- 
ively ; nature of ivorks ; service per acre ; any general facts showing extent of works, 
land areas, irrigable or non-irrigable, occupied for cultivation, used for cattle and, 
sheep, Sfc. 

E. D. Tuttle writes : 

The canals that have their source in the Gila River, commencing at the head of the 
valley, are as follows : 














$7 500 

15, 000 

Mill Canal 

20, 000 
3, 000 

10, 000 




* Not complete. 

Seven other canals averaging about 6 feet wide, total length 35 miles, $20,000. 
The above are approximate as to size, length, and value. 

(5) Climatic conditions, temperature and rainfall, results of observations, if any, as to the 
influence of irrigation on moisture of the earth or sky, effects of irrigation on health, 
fertility of soil, <£'c. 

Mr. E. D. Tuttle writes : 

Generally dry in winter, the thermometer seldom drops to freezing ; average tem- 
perature day and night is 55° or 60°. In summer, the hot weather commences about 
the middle of May. Thermometer never goes above 110°; average summer tempera- 
ture, 75° to 90°. Owing to the dryness of the air the heat is not depressing nor 
sultry. Nights are cool. We have two rainy seasons, July to September, and again, 
though less in quantity, in December. The average amount of rainfall in year is from 
8 to 14 inches. Rains are sufficient to produce the grasses native to the country, but 
insufficient for agriculture. They help mature crops with irrigation. Irrigation in- 
creases the atmospheric moisture, and probably the rainfall. 

Malarial fevers or chills prevail in the bottoms. The uplands are free from mala- 
ria and remarkably healthy. No other diseases are prevalent. The climate is very 
favorable for all luug diseases. 

Cultivation decreases the tendency to chills or ague and fever; I don't see that ir- 
rigation increases them. 

Irrigation promotes the fertility of the soil, as at times the water of the river is 
heavily charged with sed'ouentary matter from the mountains, which is left upon the 
soil. Irrigation produces a heavy growth of nitrogeneous plants, which, when turned 
under, add the element in which these dry soils are deficient; it also benefits those 
soils which are too heavily charged with mineral salts by washingthem out and down 
into the subsoil. 


Lands in the Gila Valley, which the Indians have cultivated in wheat two hundred 
years, show no sign of failing. We have no cyclones, nor very high winds; hut cool 
breezes are constant daring summer. 

There is no wind during the season of rain, of which there is just enough to moisten 
The earth and prevent dust. 

William A. Hemrick writes : 

Irrigation does not seem to affect the health of the people. The country has always 
been extremely healthy and is so now. 

I am of opinion that irrigation assists in keeping up the land. Successive crops do 
not materially weaken the soil. 

Clark Churchill, of Phoenix, gives an interesting account of irri- 
gation in the Salt Biver Yalley, as follows : 

The Arizona Canal Company is a corporation (domestic), and has completed its 
canal from near Fort McDowell, on Salt River, to Cain Creek, in Maricopa County, 
Arizona Territory. 

The cost was estimated at from ,$500,000 to $550,000. The present estimated value is 
$1,000,000. The water is taken from Salt River, about three-fourths of a mile below 
the Rio Verde, by means of a dam, and thrown into the main canal, which is 36 feet 
wide on bottom and 59 feet on top, 7 feet deep, and 41 miles long. 

The source of water supply is only the natural flow in Salt River. There is no 
reservoir to store water. The variations in supply are very great. In most years 
water is low in June and July and October. The supply might be regulated by res- 
ervoirs, which can be built in the mountains up the stream, so as to furnish a regular 
quantity in the dry months. The area which this canal will supply is about 100,000 
acres, which will increase as the land becomes filled with water by constant irriga- 

The area susceptible of being irrigated, if sufficient water could be had, is 250,000 
acres. This additional water could be furnished by storing it in winter. 

The unit heretofore in use is 1 cubic foot per second. The rate has been by the 
season, which includes nearly the whole year here. 

Service, which is by flooding, is continuous, except during period necessary to re- 
pair canal. Distributing regulations are made by the company. There are no gen- 
eral laws on the subject. Before irrigation the land is useless desert. "With irriga- 
tion it is intrinsically worth $100 per acre. 

I have not observed any change in precipitation. The earth when irrigated has 
rilled with water, so that wells which were formerly 60 feet deep to get a supply, are 
now filled with water to within 10 or 12 feet of the surface. 

E. L>. Tuttle says: 

In order to make the unoccupied land valuable, it is essential that ditches should 
be made larger than those used now, so that the water may be obtained from higher 
portions of the valley. 

If Government would encourage sinking artesian wells by gift of lands reclaimed, 
the area of tillable lands would be largely increased. The great San Simon Valley, 
which is a branch of this valley, and extends to the Mexican line, is level and fertile, 
but is devoid of running water. With the Chihuahua Range, including Graham 
Range on the west, at an elevation of 6,000 to 10,000 feet, with snow two-thirds of 
the year, there is an inexhaustible water supply in the valley. 

Pine timber is abundant but difficult of access. 

I. Brooks says : 

Our best crops are Egyptian corn and alfalfa hay ; wheat and barley do well ; it 
is a great grape country, and I think cotton would do well. 

O. F. Thornton, Gila Bend, writes : 

Location, south side of the Gila River, at Oatman Valley, 15 miles from Painted 
Rock Station, on the Southern Pacific Railroad ; post-office, Gila Bend, Maricopa 
County. The land covered by canal aggregates 10,000 acres. The canal is to carry 
40 cubic feet of water per second. Name of place Dendora, meaning golden trees. 
Canal is 6 feet on bottom, with slope of 1 foot to 1 of bank, carrying 3 feet in depth 
and giving sectional area of 27 feet. The grade of the canal is 19 inches per mile, 
which gives a mean velocity oi 2 miles per hour. Source of supply is the Gila River. 
Service per acre one-fourth of 1 inch; three irrigations per year for grain crop, and 
for alfalfa one irrigation each cutting. Lowest winter temperature 24°. Long, warm 
summers. Light rainfall. Irrigation produces no appreciable effect upon atmos- 


pherie precipitation. Not deleterious to health. Stimulates the fertility of the soil. 
With copious winter irrigation, orchards, after first year, will require no summer 

Large irrigation works are iu process of construction along the Gila. 

The Southern Pacific Road runs parallel with the valley, 175 miles east from Yuma. 
A population of 25,000 can easily be supported in this valley. Sorghum grows luxu- 
riantly. The osage will flourish finely ; all fruits also. 

The Florence Canal and Laud Company, Pinal County, have nearly completed an 
irrigating canal, running from the Gila River at the point where it leaves the mount- 
ains, southwest onto a level tract of land, 500 miles in extent, lying directly south 
of Florence and extending to the Southern Pacific Railroad. The canal will cost sev- 
eral hundred thousand dollars and will tap the Gila at a point where a never-ending 
flow will be secured, sufficient abundantly to water the entire tract. For irrigation 
it is one of the best-located pieces of land in the Territory, and it must have been re- 
claimed in this manner centuries ago, as there are still in existence the remains of 
canals used by the aboriginal inhabitants of the country. 

James B. Xeweornb, of San Antonio, writes : 

There are 50,000 acres of irrigated lands in Bexar County, valued at from $50 to 
$300 per acre. All irrigation works in the limits of San Antonio are vested in the 
city corporation ; those outside in individual land owners. Water is used by the 
hour, each land owner paying for so many hours of water. The price is nominal. 

The system of irrigating canals now in use in our city and in the valley below was 
constructed under Spanish rule over one hundred years ago. It is estimated that 
there are about 50 miles of these canals. Irrigation is used chiefly for gardens. No 
use is made of irrigation for farming purposes in this county. The rainfall is gener- 
ally sufficient to make all kinds of grain crops, and cotton never fails. Within the 
past few years large areas formerly given up to stock raising have been converted 
into thrifty farms. Many of the old irrigating canals have fallen into disuse. This 
is an agricultural county without the use of artificial irrigation. 

Oats and rye never fail. Wheat is becoming a standard crop. All kinds of fruit 
are being successfully planted. 

Mr. H. C. Smith, of Mount Blanco, Crosby County, Texas, writes the 
Department as follows : 

I herewith submit to you my practical experience for the seven years that I have 
resided here — that is, in the region of the Staked Plains, which comprises the counties 
of Crosby, Lubbock, Hale, Floyd, Brisco, Swisher, and part of Dickens. 

(1) Water can be got by digging or boring at a depth of 10 to 100 feet in any of 
above counties. The farther northwest of hero the more shallow the wells. The 
water is mostly freestone water. Some of the water is found in a deep bed of quick- 
sand and some in a shelly rock. The water rises usually from 2 to 4 feet when struck, 
and the supply is inexhaustible for windmill or other pumps. 

(2) The above counties are in from a.rolling prairie, interrupted by the streams of 
the Brazos River, North and South Double "Mountain Forks, White River (or the 
French Water Fork of the Brazos), and the numerous branches running into it and 
Tule Cation and its branches. These all run in a southeast course, with sufficient 
water and water-power to drive all machinery necessary to reduce the products of 
this section, if it were fully populated. 

(3) The Staked Plains are covered with numerous basins or lakes, some of which 
have water the year round. The water of these basins is supplied by rains, and they 
generally hold water nine months in the year. 

(4) The soil of these counties cannot be surpassed in any country. For productive- 
ness it is equal to the prairies of Illinois, and it is covered with a heavy sod of th 
best grasses known. 

I sunk one well in Blanco Canon, at my place, 60 feet deep and the water rose 32 feet. 
It is my opinion if the water were confined it would rise to the top. Artesian water 
can be got here, I am certain, at not over 500 feet deep. 

There are many boiling springs of great force — not hot water, but water acting as 
boiling water forced up from below the surface-water. 

The country is denuded of timber; oats, barley, rye, beans, sorghum, durrac corn, 
sweet and Irish potatoes, pumpkins, and in fact everything that grows anywhere else, 
will grow here, except Indian corn, which the worms destroy. 



Every year the valleys of all streams and small creeks are full of wild fruits, such 
as five kiuds of plums, three kinds of grapes, mulberries, currants, elderberries, also 
walnut, pecan, and other nuts. 

I have now an orchard of domestic fruits, including peach, plum, currant, mulberry, 
and apricot trees, and gooseberry and raspberry bushes ; also vigo grapes and a great 
many forest trees. All are doing well. 

Rain has increased very notably ever since I moved to this place. The proof of 
the same is the showing of our crops. Where the country is not overstocked with 
cattle and sheep the grasses seem to take a stronger hold in the ground. I have 
the alfalfa and the Johnson grass growing here in perfection. 

Mr. Morgan Jones, president of the Fort Worth and Denver City 
Bailway Company, writes under date, Fort Worth, Tex,, September 11, 
1885, as follows : 

In reply to yours asking for information as to water supply, &c, I would submit 
the following observations, derived from the locality of our road. Our line commences 
at Fort Worth, Tex., and runs in a northwesterly direction to Wichita Falls, a dis- 
tance of 114 miles. Starting at this point, Fort Worth, we find an abundance of re- 
liable water, both from the Trinity River and from wells, the latter at a depth of an 
average of 280 feet ; after leaving this point, and throughout the extent of our line, 
the supply of water for locomotive use from wells is quite j)recarious. At several 
points we have bored wells to a depth of 300 feet, and so far we have found but one 
or two that yielded any considerable supply of water. These wells would furnish, an 
abundant supply for -family use, but no deep wells have been bored for the purpose 
of reaching artesian water. With these difficulties, our experience has led us to adopt 
and rely upon the use of artificial supplies of water. The average rainfall along the 
line is about 24 inches per annum. It is probable four-fifths of this supply falls dur- 
ing the winter and spring months, the remaining mon ths very seldom giving a rain 
of sufficient amount to flow on the surface. The result is, we have a few months that 
give us high waters in the streams, and give a large flow of water in the depressions 
and ravines over the surface of the country 

By selecting the proper places for reservoirs we can, at small expense, locate a dam 
that will hold the water idiat flows into a ravine during the wet season, and this 
furnishes an abundant supply for the whole year. This method of water, supply is now 
adopted by many stockmen, and experience shows it is a cheap and reliable source of 
water supply for the country at large. 

These reservoirs, when constructed so that the retained water shall obtain a consid- 
erable depth, remains pure and of moderate coolness through the hot season, giving 
water suitable for drinking and domestic purposes. 

It is affirmed by the old settlers that the rainfall is materially on the increase, and 
I would say that my own observations confirm this opinion. If this increase goes on, 
we may expect in a few years to have more reliable supplies of water from subter- 
ranean sources, aud a resort to wells for such supplies may become practicable. 

Mr. J. E. Wallace, of the Texas Pacific Eailroad, sends the following 
tabular statement, showing wells on the Eio Grande Division thereof: 





Supply in 



of water. 



Forth Worth.... 
Weat herford 

Colony Fork 

Sandy Creek 









Well 7 inches in diameter (abandoned) . 
Well dug 43 feet, bored 300 feet j Clinch 

Well dug 51 feet ; bored 2 15 feet; 7-inch 

Well dug 42 feet ; bored 150 feet ; 7-inch 

hole (abandoned). 

Well bored 400 feet ; 7-inch hole 

Well dug 42 feet ; bored 196 feet ; 8-inch 

Well dug 40 feet ; bored 600 feet ; 7-inch 

hole (abandoned). 



98. G 

10,000 gallons. 





228. 7 

Colorado.. .. 

Westbrook .... 

20,000 gallons. 



237. 9" 


do . 


258. 9 





Lagonda 46 



Odessa.. ........ ! 53^ 

1 Test hole; 7-inch diameter i. ....... 










Supply in 


of water. 

368 3 




C 51? 

i 62i 





40,000 gallons. 

400,000 gallons. 




Well bored ; 8-inch diameter (abandoned) 

Well bored ; 8-inch diameter 

Two wells, each 8-inch diameter and 
bored 256 feet deep.' 

One well bored ; 10-inch diameter 

Well dug 30 feet ; bored 200 feet ; 8-inch 
diameter (abandoned). 

Two wells bored ; 8-inch diameter (aban- 

Well bored ; 8-inch diameter (abandoned) 

Well bored ; 10-inch diameter (a ban 

Two wells bored ; each 8-inch diameter 
and 343 feet deep. 


357. 7 

Sand Mills 







San Martine 






40,000 gallons. 

4S8 4 

Wild Horse 

Van Horn 



488 4 


Well bored ; 8-inch diameter (abandoned). 

800 gallons 


J91 3 


Ea«-le Flat 

Now drilling at this point, as yet no re- 

521. 5 

Sierra Blanco... 

1, 160 
C 25 
I 26 



Two wells ; 8-inch diameter (abandoned) . 



Numerous streams, having their fountain-heads far up in the moun- 
tains, flow eastward into the valleys. Beginning up in the mountains 
on some of these streams, so as to get elevations of several hundred 
feet above the valleys, irrigation canals have been constructed and car- 
ried out along; the uplands 50 to 100 miles. From these main canals 
ditches, usually called laterals, are constructed, so as to carry water to 
the farms along the slopes and down in the valleys. The water is 
brought in the lateral to the highest part of the farm, and if the crop 
be in drills, snch as potatoes or corn, it is allowed to run between the 
drills. If the field be in wheat or oats or other such crop, trenches of 
12 to 18 inches wide, made with the plow or shovel, are run from the 
highest part to the lowest, at distances of 50 to 100 feet apart. If the 
sloj)e of the field be not too great these trenches are usually made in 
direct lines, but if the slope be such as to cause the water to run too 
fast the trenches are made diagonally, so as to obtain a proper grade, 
or are made in a winding course, according to the contour of the ground. 
The water from these trenches is rapidly absorbed by the loose, culti- 
vated soil, until almost, if not every part of the land between the 
trenches is made moist. Should any portion not be receiving sufficient 
water the man in charge of the irrigation makes a small trench to that 
part with his shovel. If the field be large the water is let upon only a 
part of it at a time, and when that part has received enough moisture 
the water is turned off it and is turned on another part. The water is 
turned off or on certain parts of the field by simply throwing a few 
shovelfuls of earth across the "head," or upper end of the trench, or 
by taking out a few shovels of earth, as the case may be. Two irriga- 
tions, equaling each time a rainfall of 3 to 5 inches, are usually sufficient 
for wheat, and more than three irrigations are never applied to it. The 
following diagram illustrates the method in use: 

S Mis . /or 49 2 



Hon. E. L. Nettleton, the State engineer of Colorado, transmits to 
the Commissioner of Agriculture a copy of bis annual report, and writes 
as follows : 

Regarding the ownership, control, and value of water in our State for the purpose 
of irrigation, I will say that, under our constitution and laws, the water of every nat- 
ural stream belongs to tfcft public and is under the control of the State. The right 
to divert any unappropriated water for a beneficial use can never be denied. Priority 
of appropriation is recognized in this way. Those using the water for domestic pur- 
poses have the preference ; the next preference is given to those using it for agri- 
cultural purposes; after these comes the right to use it for manufacturing purposes. 
The law requires every appropriator of water from the natural streams to prove his 
claims as to date and amount of appropriation. When this is done, and four years 
have elapsed (in which to correct any errors that may occur in dates and quantity), 
such claims become valid and a matter of record. The State engineer and water 
commissioners are the officers of the law to look after the division of public waters, 
according to the rights of each appropriator. 

This method of establishing and protecting the rights of the people to the use of the 
public waters seems to be as good as can be cievised, and much has been done within 
the last five years in enacting and enforcing good laws, which have given great value 
and confidence to irrigation enterprises within the State. 

The cubic foot per second is the unit of measure of water generally used, especially 
by the large irrigation companies. 

When the water is sold in perpetuity by the canal proprietors to the agriculturist, 
the former generally agree to furnish and measure it at the canal, and receive about 
$750 for a cubic foot per second, which is to be furnished during the irrigation season, 
or from May 15 to August 15 of each year. 

When the water is sold for a single irrigating season it brings from $1.25 to $2.25 
per acre. 

The duty of a cubic foot of water per second varies with the kind of soil and the 
crop irrigated, but may be assumed to be capable of irrigating 55 acres on an average. 
I predict that the duty of water for irrigation purposes will be increased very mate- 
rially within the next ten years. This will be brought about mainly by better prep- 
aration of the land and ditches and a more skillful application of the water. 

While the observations of the rain-gauge do not show any increase of moisture 
precipitated as rain and snow for the past fifteen years, yet there is a very perceptible 
increase in the humidity of the atmosphere surrounding the irrigated districts. 

In these places it is now a very common thing, after a still and clear night, to find 
heavy dews on the vegetation in the morning, while in the unirrigated places on the 
plains dews are seldom seen. 

I have yet to learn of any ill effect upon the health of the people in the irrigated 
districts of Colorado caused by irrigation. 

Reversed irrigation or drainage has been practiced but little in our State, although 
it is needed in some places. 

Water in perpetuity for an acre is more valuable than the land before the water 
is applied, the former being worth from $10 to $15 per acre, while the latter in its na- 
tive condition is only worth from $1.25 to $5 per acre. 

The amount of agricultural land in our State is limited by the amount of water 
available, hence the water for irrigation purposes is a key to the growth and pros- 
perity of agricultural interests in Colorado. 

Our country is comrjaratively new, therefore it is exceedingly difficult to collect re- 
liable data concerning these things. 


Under the admirable system adopted in this State the irrigable area is divided as 
follows for purposes of distribution, supervision, and the adjudication of claims and 
disputes : 

District No. 1, South Platte division. — This district comprises the lands irrigated 
from ditches and canals taking water from the South Platte River, between its inter- 
section with the State line of Colorado and Nebraska, and the mouth of the Cache la 
Poudre River. There has been filed a statement of seventeen ditches and canals. 
The total amount of water claimed by all ditches on record is 5,404.78 cubic feet per 
second. Since 1882 several large canals have been constructed. It is claimed that the 
flow of water in the Platte River through this district is much more uniform than 
formerly, which is undoubtedly true, and is due to the effect of the irrigating cauals 
on. the stream above by reducing its flow in the flood season. After high water its 


natural How is increased by the return into the stream of a portion of the water which 
is commonly call seepage. 

District No. 2, South Platte division. — This district comprises all lands that can be 
irrigated from the South Platte River and its tributaries (except the Big Tompson, 
Saint Vrain, and Clear Creek) between the mouth of the Cache la Poudre and Cherry 
Creek. There are thirty- live ditches and canals in this district, most of which have 
their rights of appropriators established by a decree of court, dated April 28, 1883. 
The total amount of water appropriated in 1his district, including the amount decreed 
and claimed by statements tiled in the office of the county clerk, is 3,642 cubic feet 
per second. 

District JS T o. 3, South Platte division. — This district comprises all land irrigated from 
waters of the Cache la Poudre and its tributaries. Decrees were rendered in this dis- 
trict dated April 11, 1882, which established the priority of appropriations of nfty- 
three ditches and canals, 

District No. 4, South Platte division. — This district includes all lands irrigated from 
the waters of the Big Tompson and tributaries. The rights of claimants to water in 
this district were established by decree of the court of May 20, 1883. There are twenty- 
eight ditches and canals in this district, having a total appropriation of 3,397 cubic 
feet per second. Difficulty was found by the commissioners in measuring the water 
before flumes were put in the ditches, but since then, by using the rating tables, the 
water is divided to the satisfaction of all concerned. Under the law, and by means of 
these flumes, the division of water in time of scarcity has given general satisfaction. 

District No. 5, South Platte division. — This district comprises all lands irrigated from 
the waters of Saint Vrain Creek and its tributaries, except the Boulder, its tributaries, 
and Coal Creek. The rights of claimants to the use of water and the order of priority 
of such claims were established by decree of court. There are seventy-three ditches 
and canals in this district, having by decree a total appropriation of 80,486 " custom- 
ary inches " or about 2,096 cubic feet per second, the " customary inch " being assumed 
to be equal to the statutory inch, which is .026 of a cubic feet. Measuring flumes have 
been put into a few of the ditches, and a partial gauging and rating of these have 
been made. The area cultivated under the canals is~estimated to be larger in pro- 
portion to the water supply than in any other district in Northern Colorado with one 
exception. A great deal of contention has existed here. 

District No. 6, South Platte division. — This district comprises all lands watered from 
the Boulder and its tributaries and Coal Creek. Decrees have been rendered in this 
district establishing the j)riority and amount of appropriation of sixty-two ditches and 
canals, which claim a total appropriation of 180,405 customary inches, or 4,698 cubic 
feet per second. Measuring flumes have been built in a few of the ditches in this 
district, but none of them have been rated. 

District No. 7, South Platte division. — This district includes all lands watered from 
Clear Creek and its tributaries. The priority of appropriation of the ditches and 
canals in this district were established by decree of the court dated October 4, 1884. 
There are about sixty ditches which claim an appropriation of 1,180 cubic feet per 
second. No measuring flumes have been placed in the ditches in the district, and 
consequently none have been rated. 

District No. 8, South Platte division. — This district comprises lands watered from the 
Cherry Creek, Plum Creek, and South Platte River and their tributaries, except Bear 
Creek above water district No. 2, and below the forks of the north and south branches 
of the South Platte River. The rights of appropriators have been established in this 
district by decree of court. There are one hundred and ten ditches and canals which 
claim the right to the use of 2,481 cubic feet of water per second. The abstract of the 
decree furnished failed to give the name of the stream from which the appropriations 
were made. The orders of priority are numbered consecutively to correspond with 
dates, without regard to the streams from which the appropriations are made. No 
preserving flumes have been built in the ditches of the district, and consequently none 
have been rated. 

District No. 9, South Platte division. — This district comprises all lands watered from 
Bear Creek and its tributaries. The rights of the appropriators of this stream were 
established by decree of the court of the second judicial district, dated February 4, 
1884. There are twenty ditches and canals, which appropriate 437 cubic feet per sec- 
ond, and six reservoirs, which appropriate an additional amount of 215 cubic feet per 
second. Measuring flumes have been built in some ditches in this district and these 
have been gauged and rated. It is estimated that there is a greater area of land irri- 
gated from the streams in this district and more private reservoirs built with holding 
capacities, according to the amount of the water supply, than there is in any other 
stream in the State. Bear Creek, like other streams in Colorado, rises early in spring, 
but does not hold out through the main irrigating season. To tide over summer and 
fall emergencies several private reservoirs have been built and improved, without 
which many of the finest farms in district No. 9 would not be in existence. 


Division No. 10, Arkansas division. — This district comprises all lands in El Paso County 
that are watered from Fountain Creek and its tributaries. The right of priority 
of appropriation of one hundred and four ditches and canals have been established by 
decree of the court of the fourth judicial district. The total capacity claimed by 
owners of these ditches is 780 cubic feet rjer second. No measuring flumes have been 
built, and in consequence no ditches or canals have been gauged or rated. The un- 
certainty of the Avater supply and the unintelligent division in times of scarcity have 
done much to retard the progress and development of agriculture in this district, and 
to render farming a somewhat precarious occupation. Probably no district of the 
State is in greater need of increased water supply, and the people of El Paso County 
are agitated on the subject of storage reservoirs. 

District No. 11, Arkansas division. — This district comprises all the lands within the 
limits of Chaffee County, and contains about 1,130 square miles. There are fifty-one 
ditches and canals in this district recorded in the office of the clerk of Chaffee County, 
and these claim an appropriation of 2,366 cubic feet per second. 

District No. 12, Bio Grande division. — This district comprises all lands irrigated from 
ditches taking water from Saguache Creek and its tributaries. No legal adjudication 
of water-rights in this district has yet taken place. 

District No. 13, Rio Grande division. — Water district No. 13 comprises all lands irri- 
gated by ditches taking water from San Luis Creek and its tributaries. No decrees 
have yet been rendered in this district concerning the right of appropriation of 
ditches and canals. 

District No. 14, Rio Grande division. — This district comprises all lands irrigated 
from ditches taking water from La Garita and Garner Creeks, in Saguache County. 
There are fifty-one ditches and canals in this district, which, according to the decree 
of the court of the sixth judicial district, aj)propriate 4,407 cubic feet of water per 

District No. 15, Arkansas division. — This district comprises all lands in Custer 
County, and that portion of Fremont County south of the Arkansas River. It was 
created in 1880 by General Pitken, on the application of citizens of the district and 
contains an area of about 1,398 square miles. The irrigable lands of this district lie 
mainly in the Wet Mountain Valley. No decree has been rendered establishing the 
rights of claimants to the use of the public waters. 

District No. 16, Arkansas division. — This district comprises all lands irrigated by 
ditches taking water from Greenhorn Creek and its tributaries. This district was 
created by General Pitken in 1880. No record of the adjudication of the rights of 
claimants in this district has been received by this department, and no report. Dis- 
trict No. 16 is one of the smallest in area yet created. The waters of the Greenhorn 
have their source in the low rauge of mountains of the same name. The sup])ly is 
very limited, there being no storage reservoirs of sufficient importance yet constructed 
to impound the surplus waters of this stream and increase the irrigable lands. 

District No. 17, Rio Grande division. — This district comprises all lands irrigated 
from ditches taking water from La Gara, Alamosa, and Spring Creeks. These waters 
have their source in the low and extreme end of the San Juan Mountains. The sup- 
ply is often very limited and insufficient to meet the demands made by all the claim- 
ants during the main irrigating season. No decrees have been rendered concerning 
rights of claimant and the amount appropriated. 

District No. 18. — This district comprises lands in La Plata County, irrigated from 
the waters of the Rio Mancos River. The source of the Rio Mancos is in the La Plata 
Mountains ; it is a tributary of the San Juan River and joins the latter at the south- 
west corner of the State. There is no record of the number of ditches in this district, 
or the amount of water appropriated. It is not included in any water district yet 
created. The water commissioner divides the water in June and July, without de- 
cree of court to guide or protect him. 

District No. 19, Arkansas division. — This district comprises the lands irrigated from 
the Purgatoire above the head of Purgatoire Canon. No decree of court has been 
rendered establishing the right of claimants and the amount of water appropriated. 

District No. 20, Rio Grande division. — This district comprises all that portion of 
Rio Grande County that lies east of the main range, and between ranges 4 and 7, 
New Mexico meridian, consisting of a tract of land 12 miles east and west by 30 miles 
north and south. This district is a rectangular tract of land extending across the Rio 
Grande lying mainly on the south side. It is difficult to discover a reason for creating 
this district regardless of the direction and extent of the drainage. No decree has been 
rendered establishing the rights of claimants to the use of the public waters. 

District No. 21. — This district comprises all lands in La Plata County irrigated from 
waters of Las Animas River and its tributaries. No statement of ditches has beeu 
hied in the office of the clerk of the court, nor any return from the water commis- 
sioner. District No. 21 is not included in any water district yet created. 

District No. 22. — This district comprises all lands irrigated by ditches taking water 
from the Jomichi Creek and its tributaries. It is not included in any district yet 


created, lias no water commissioner, and no decrees of court have been rendered es- 
tablishing the right of claimants to the use of the public water. 

District No. 23. — This district comprises all land from Ute Creek, Sangrede Christo 
Creek, and Frinchera River and their tributaries. There is recorded in the office of 
the State engineer an abstract of statements of twenty-three ditches and canals. 
These ditches claim the right to the use of 85 feet of water })er second. No water com- 
missioner has been appointed. 

District No. 24. — This district comprises all lands in Conejos and Costilla Counties, 
irrigated from ditc*hes taking water from the Rio Grande. No record of ditches has 
been hied, and no decree of court been rendered establishing the right of priority and 
amount of water appropriated, and no water commissioner has been appointed. 

District No. 25. — This district comprises all lands irrigated by ditches taking water 
from the Conejos River and its tributaries. Decrees of court have established the 
order of priority and furnished the data from which the capacities in cubic feet per 
second of sixty-two ditches and canals have been computed. They appropriate 1,612 
cubic feet of water per second. The water commissioner has reported that the ap- 
propriators have been able to settle the division among themselves. 

District No. 26, Arkansas division. — This district comprises all lands irrigated from 
ditches taking water from the Saint Charles River. This district was created by 
Governor Grant on the 19th of January, 18S4, and is the last district formed. The 
right of claimants and the amount of water claimed have not yet been adjudicated 
by any court. No rei^ort has been made by the commissioner for this district. 


To complete the discharge of a river or canal it is necessary to determine with 
accuracy the area of the cross section at the point of measurement and the average- 
velocity of the current passing the point. When the stream is small, or, as in a canal, 
manageable, the first measurement required, that of the cross-section, is more easily 
made and the shape maintained with certainty, when the water is made to pass through 
a rectangular flume built of masonry or wood. The maintenance of the same cross- 
section is also important whenever it is necessary to keep a constant record of the 
flow, as at the head of an irrigating canal or in a river used extensively for irrigation. 
When the cross-section is taken in the natural bed it is quite possible to measure the 
water passing, but there is no certainty that the conditions then determined will be 
constant for a week or even a day 

After the cross-section area at the measuring point is determined, it is necessary to 
measure the speed of the current in all parts of the cross-section, in order that the 
average speed may be known. 

There are many more or less accurate ways of doing this in use, the most common 
being by means of floats, either surface or submerged, and the speed at which they 
are carried past a measuring distance determines the velocity of the current. Without 
discussing the imperfections of this or other methods more or less used in the absence 
of the accurate instruments employed when close measurement is necessary, a brief 
description of the instrument used by the engineer's department of Colorado and the 
method of rating it is here given. The first instrument used was a u F'teley " current 
meter, which was very accurate, provided the water was clear and. free from weeds, 
grass, &c. These conditions are, however, not always found in Colorado streams and 
ditches, and it was found necessary to have an instrument which would be self-clearing 
and give accurate readings in torrents and foul water. To meet this requirement the 
" Colorado" current meter was designed, which acts on the same general principle as 
the anemometer or wind gauge, the principal change being in the shape and numbers 
of the caps. It has five vanes or caps revolving horizontally on an axle having bear- 
ings at the open end of a metal frame shaped somewhat like a capital W of the Roman 
type alphabet turned sidewise, the caps passing between the sides of the frame. On 
the upper arm of the frame is affixed a set of counting gears, so arranged that they 
can instantly be thrown into or out of connection with the vanes by means of a spring 
and a cord passing up the metal rod by which the instrument is held in the desired 
position in the water. The shape of the caps is such that floating weeds, &c, will 
not be retained longer than about three-eighths of a revolution. 

These meters are each rated separately by moving them at known velocities through 
still water (which has the same effect on the meter as holding it in running water), 
and determining the number of revolutions made by the meter in a given time at each 

Those used by the State engineer department were rated in perfectly still water in 
the reservoir of the Denver Water Company. To measure the velocity of the current 
at any given point the meter is held at that point a certain time, usually one hun- 
dred seconds, and the number of revolutions recorded. This operation can be repeated 
at each point of the cross-section as often as is deemed necessary, and by measuring a 
sufficient number of points in the current the mean velocity of the water is deter- 
mined. The velocity and cross-section being known, it is easy to determine the quan- 


tity of the water passing the point in any given time, say one second. If the cross- 
section area is 40 feet and the average current velocity 2.35 feet per second, the quan- 
tity will be 40 multiplied by 2.35, equal co 94 cubic feet per second. 

The result of the computation last described is termed the gauging of the canal 
or river, at the height of the water when the current velocity was measured. As the 
velocity increases with the increase of height of water in the flume it is necessary to 
make a gauging for several stages of water between the bottom of the flume and its 
fullest capacity, and when this has been done and the result tabulated it is possible 
to determine the discharge for all intermediate points. This is termed the rating. 


(1) Give location, geographical and postal, of your colony or enterprise ; area thereof, past 
and present ; any facts hearing thereon ; also size of colony, farms, and ranches. 

Joliii C. Abbott writes from La Junta : 

The Arkansas River Land, Town, and Canal Company have expended $42,500 on 
the canal. There are at present 10,000 acres under water. The company have pur- 
chased of the State 8,758.43 acres. The State still owns the same amount. Govern- 
ment reservation at Fort Lyon embraces 6,000 acres. Claims sold last seasou at $6 
per acre. They were taken up the year before. Some Indian claims are held at $10 
per acre. The head of the canal is 3 miles northwest of La Junta, Bent County. 

Mark Biedell, Bel Norte, writes: 

Location is in Saguache County, 25 miles southwest of Saguache and 10 miles north- 
east of Del Norte, the nearest post-office and railroad town. The ranch consists of 
about 1,500 acres, bought by one of the original Mexican settlers about ten years ago. 
The original settlers starved out and went farther south. The La Garita Creek runs 
through the land from west to east and sinks below me in the valley. The soil is de- 
rived lroin the debris of the volcanic rocks. Outside of a little grass along the creek, 
it was barren. The creek in a wet season has about 1,000 inches of water. 

A correspondent from Greeley Colony writes : 

The colony known as the " Greeley Colony" is situated in latitude 40° 30' north, long- 
titude 27° 45' west from Washington. It is in Weld County. The post-office is Greeley, 
a town of about 4,000 people. What was once the colony is now the center of an agri- 
cultural district, 50 miles long and from 15 to 18 miles in width. The area of the col- 
ony proper has never been changed. It includes about 45,000 acres, 15,000 of which 
were purchased of the Union Pacific Railway. The remainder of the tract was pre- 
empted and homesteaded by the colonists in a body, the location of the members being 
determined by lot. The ranches vary in size from ten to several thousand acres. 

T. O. Henry, from Conejos County, writes : 

The Empire Land and Canal Company's property is located in Conejos County, upon 
the Rio Grande and in the great San Luis Park. We have about 100,000 acres brought 
under water. We are breaking up 10,000 acres now, and shall break along until 
50,000 are broken. We shall have 10,000 in grain this year (1886). Under this canal 
is located the Old Soldier's Colony, at Logan, on the Denver and Rio Grande Rail- 
way. A Chicago colonization company has its scheme in charge. It bids fair to be 
a success. All the land under this canal will be cultivated in three years. 

Daniel Boycl, president of the State Board of Agriculture, writes from 
Greeley : 

In this communication I shall confine my remarks to lands under the two canals 
built by Union Colony, which made its headquarters at Greeley in the spring of 
1870. The site of the present town, as well as all the land now farmed under its two 
canals, was then covered with cactus and the short grass of the plains. The canals 
are taken from the Cache la Poudre, the farthest north of the tributaries of the South 
Platte, at distances above the town of, respectively, 6 and 14 miles in a straight line ; 
they cover, respectively, 8,000 and 25,000 acres. Farms, not gardens, near town, vary 
from 80 to 160 acres. 

Original value of land per acre; present selling price; state whether the purchase of land 
carries water also; if not, rent or price of latter per acre. 

Daniel Boyd, Greeley, writes : 

The land, except a narrow strip of meadow land on the margin of the river, was 
worthless for-farming, and for grazing it would only sustain one steer to 20 acres. 


Without water it was uot worth 25 cents per acre. We paid the railroad ahout $3 
for alternate sections, but only in view of the possibility of its irrigation. The value 
of lauds at a distance of from 3 to 10 miles from Greeley varies from $50 to $20 per 
acre. This includes right to water, subject to expense of management. 

T. C. Henry, Conejos County, writes : 

There are or were about 35,000 acres of Government land under canal. They were 
not worth taking until now that the canal is completed. They are now as valuable 
as other lands, being worth from $5 to SO per acre. In addition to these prices the 
purchaser pays an annual rental of $1 per acre per annum for water from the canal. 

Mark Biedell, Del Norte, writes : 

The price of land is §1.25 to 82 per acre. There is no sale for it at present. The 
land company offers similar land on long time for $3 an acre. My ranch has the first 
right to water by a decision of the district court, made four years ago. I get plenty 
of water by a ditch from the Rio Grande, about 16 miles long. 

D. P. Galloway writes from Wallace : 

Only public domain land, subject to homestead and pre-emptions at $1.25 per acre, 
is variable. The Rio Dolores runs across the narrow part of the valley, making it 
productive. There are no companies, as yet, to put in the water, but there is a good 
chance for them. 

(3) Products of land ; amount, market, and average value of crops; how long planted. 

Are fruits grown ? 

John C. Abbott writes from Wallace : 

All kinds of grain and fruits. Wheat, per acre, from 20 to 50 bushels ; oats, from 30 
to 75 bushels ; corn, from 15 to to 25 bushels ; alfalfa, from 4 to 8 tons per acre. All 
fruits grow in abundance and are prolific, as far as tried. English gooseberries bear 
well the first season. Black walnuts do well. Timber of all kinds does much better 
than in northern part of State or in higher elevations. 

Mark Biedell, Del Norte, writes: 

Wheat, barley, oats, peas, potatoes, mangels, vegetables, grass, and alfalfa grow 
well. Threshed 2,800 bushels of grain last year and cut about 600 tons of hay. Have 
no market, as the transportation to Denver and the mines takes all the profit. Set out 
last year 3 acres of fruit trees and will set out 3 acres more this year. This is the only 
exr>eriment on that scale for 100 miles around. Have raised alfalfa for ten years here. 

A correspondent writes from Greeley : 

We have all the field crops grown in Kansas, Missouri, or Illinois, with the addition 
of alfalfa. With good cultivation the following are average yields : Wheat, 25 bushels 
per acre, worth $1.25 per 100 pounds ; oats, 50 bushels, at §1 per 100 ; corn, 25 bushels, 
at $1 per 100 ; hay (timothy), 2 tons per acre, at §14 per ton ; alfalfa, 3 to 5 tons, at $13 
per ton: alfalfa, seed, 5 bushels per acre, at §8 per bushel. 

T. C. Henry, of Conejos County, writes : 

The altitude is from 7,000 to 7,400 feet. Wheat, oats, barley, peas, and all kinds of 
vegetables common to this latitude, except tomatoes, do extremely well. Markets are 
in the mountains. Small fruits do well ; also apples and cherries. 

Daniel Boyd, Greeley writes : 

Small fruits are much cultivated around Greeley and general gardening is pursued 
profitably. Standard fruits are not a general success. Wheat is now worth 75 cents, 
oats 35 cents, barley 60 cents, corn 46 cents, potatoes 55 cents per bushel. Hay in 
stacks on faiins about $5 per ton. 

(4) Extent of irrigation ivories and their character ; source of supply, method of distribution, 

cost and value of irrigation ivorks ; amount available at present and prospectively ; 
nature of works ; service per acre ; any general facts showing extent of works, land areas, 
irrigable or non-irrigable, occupied for cultivation, used for cattle and sheep, $c. 

T. C. Henry, Conejos County, writes : 

The main canal is 80 feet wide at the head, 6 feet deep, and 32 miles long, extending 
through a level plain. The Rio Grande is the source. Distributed in the usual way. 
Cost, §200,000. Present capacity, 100,000 acres; future, 150,000. Rental, $1 per acre 
per annum. 


Mark Biedell, Del Norte, writes : 

We have a 12-foot wide ditch, 16 miles long, from the Rio Grande River above Del 
Norte to the ranch; also 10 miles of main ditches from the La Garita, and about 40 
miles of lateral ditches. Total capacity, 3,000 inches of water; actual service about 
1,500 inches. Amount used, 1 inch to the acre. Grass and grain are irrigated by flood- 
ing; trees, vegetables, and potatoes by ditches, 3 feet apart. Cost of main ditches 
about $15,000." The area irrigated embraces about two hundred acres of farming land 
and 1,300 acres of hay and pasture land. 

George H. West writes from Greeley: 

Irrigable land heretofore has been occupied almost wholly by farmers, but cattle 
and sheep men are now commencing to water large areas in order to provide feed 
against hard winters. Alfalfa clover has proved a wonderful forage crop when cul- 
tivated and irrigated. We cut it about three times a year here, and get about 2 tons 
per acre at each cutting from a good stand of it. 

(5) Climatic conditions, temperature and rainfall; results of ooserations, if any, as to the 
influence of irrigation on moisture of the earth or sky; effects of irrigation on health, 
fertility of soil, §c : 

Mark Biedell, of Del Forte, writes : 

Altitude, 7,700 feet. Climate severe; frosts are liable to occur as late as June 9 up 
to June 20 in the spring, and as early in the fall as the last of August. They are sure 
about the 9th of September. 

Summer temperature varies from up to 90° in daytime to 40° at night ; in winter 
from 20° below zero at night to 35° above zero in daytime. Rainfall not sufficient to 
raise anything without irrigation. Air very thin ; extremely healthy. Have noted 
no change in climate or moisture. Irrigation helps fertility by dissolving carbonate 
of soda and silicate of potash in the soil as the land gets better, after wetting for a few 

The temperature will change 50° to 60° in twenty-four hours in winter. There are 
no heavy winds and it is so dry that the cold is not felt so much as in localities with 
heavier, moister air. 

Daniel Boyd, Greeley, writes : 

I do not believe that irrigation has had any perceptible influence on rainfall or 
much on the humidity of the atmosphere. One result of irrigation is to turn some 
localities into swamps. This is especially true of a surface broken into discontinuous 
basins. Where the surface slope from the ditch to the river is nearly uniform and 
underlaid with gravel the drainage is good. Some 5,000 acres of the 25,000 under 
our larger ditch are now worthless from excess of water and efflorescence of sulphate 
of soda. 

George H. West writes : 

Rainfall we think is slowly increasing over the region where irrigation is necessary. 
Irrigation undoubtedly benefits and improves the soil. We notice no detriment to 
health where proper waste-ways are provided for seepage and surplus water. 

A correspondent writes from Greeley : 

There has been no perceptible increase in rainfall or change in temperature. There 
has been, however, a marked change in the humidity of the atmosphere. Fogs pre- 
vail now during the summer months, a phenomenon never met with on the plains and 
formerly unknown here. I think this fact accounts in a large measure for the almost 
universal prevalence of the belief in an increased rainfall. So far as my observation 
has extended, irrigation has exerted no deleterious influence on the health of this re- 
gion except in a few localities which defective natural drainage has rendered marshy. 
Where there is good natural drainage, and water is not used to excess, the sediment 
transported by the water in irrigation increases the fertility of the soil. 

T. 0. Henry, of Conejos County, writes : 

The elevation is such that the air is very dry and rarefied. Ours is a delightful 
and equable climate, with but little rain except in July and August. Irrigation has 
had no appreciable effect on the rainfall or health. 



The following statements were made in reply to earlier circulars of 
the Department : 
Hon. George A. Crawford, of Gunnison City, writes : 

Land in the Gunnison Valley averages about $5 per acre. The area irrigated is 
about 60,000 acres. The Grand River Ditch and the Pacific Slope are corporate 
property and sell water. The other ditches are taken out by farmers for t\veir own 
use. The following are the works now in use (1885) : 

(1) The Grand River Ditch, in Grand River Valley, covering about 40,000 acres 
around Grand Junction (town). Cost about $5150,000. It is 35 feet wide, 3 to 5 feet 
deep, and 26 miles long; has " lateral" 20 miles long, 20 feet wide, and 3 feet deep. 

(2) The Mesa County Ditch, 8 miles long, 24 feet wide, and 3 feet deep. Cost, 15,000. 
In Grand River Valley at Grand Junction. 

(3) The Pioneer Extension, an extension of the Mesa County Ditch. Projected 
from Grand Junction Valley to the lower end of the valley. About 1 mile is com- 
pleted, 12 feet wide, 3 feet deep. Will be 15 miles long, and will cost §10,000 to 

(4) The Pacific Slope Ditch about Grand Junction supplies the town. Is 9 miles 
long, 5 feet wide on bottom, 3 feet deep, and cost $14,000. 

(5) The Independent Ranchman's Ditch below Grand Junction, 15 miles long, 12 
feet wide, and 3 feet deep ; cost about $15,000. There are other ditches up Grand 
River ; on Plateau, White Water, Kohuah, and other creeks. 

We rate water by the inch. It is estimated that an inch of water under a 5-inch 
pressure will irrigate an acre. About 140,000 acres may be reclaimed in addition to 
the 60,000 already under ditch, making 200,000 in all. 

Ansel Watrous, of Fort Collins, writes : 

There are eighty-one ditches and canals in this (Larimer) county, fifty-three in the 
valley of the Cache la Poudre River, and twenty-eight in the valleys of the Big and 
Little Thompson Creeks. 

The average duty of water there is 1 cubic foot per secoud for each 55 acres. Our 
works are generally held as corporate property. Irrigated land is worth from $30*fco 
$60 per acre. The area now (18S5) under water is 135,000 acres. 

A. E, Blunt, of Fort Collins, writes : 

The amount of land under water is 300,000 acres, valued at $910,000. The service 
of water, 1.44 cubic feet per second for 80 acres, or 1 inch for every acre. Two to 4 
inches deep at an irrigation is all we ever use. 

The following are the irrigation works of the district : 

Name of county. 


Name of county. 





No. 2 



There are other smaller ditches. 

J. W. Colmar, of Westmore, Custer County, writes : 

There are no canals or large incorporated ditches or reservoirs or artesian wells 
in the county. All ditches are small, and are either owned by individuals or neigh- 
boring farmers. 

Prof. Elwood Mead, civil engineer, occupying the chair of physics and 
irrigation engineering at the State Agricultural College, writes as fol- 
lows : 

I cannot refrain from congratulating you on the wisdom and good judgment which 
originated your forthcoming report. Few persons who have not made special inquiry 
into the subject have any conception of the importance which thisfeatureof our agri- 
culture promises to assume. Not only is the desert being made to blossom, but in no 
other section of the Union has the writer met with an agricultural population so con- 
tented and hopeful or more prosperous. 


The fact that agriculture by means of irrigation has achieved a success never antic- 
ipated by the pioneers, is indeed the great menace to the rapid and prosperous devel- 
opment of this interest. Parties who settled on, and began irrigating from our 
mountain streams ten and fifteen years ago, expected to possess the earth and the 
fullness thereof for the remainder of their natural lives. They cannot realize the 
change, and resent both the crowding in of new comers, and the attempt on the r>art 
of the State to regulate and control the distribution of water as an unwarranted in- 
terference. In some. localities this has led to much hard feeling, and expensive and 
useless litigation. 

At Dolores, La Plata County, my present address, is located one of the most impor- 
tant irrigation enterprises in the State. The water is taken from the Dolores River 
by a tunnel 1 mile long ; thence it follows a canon 4 miles, Avhence it emerges into a 
valley, 35 miles long by 15 miles broad, and 1,000 feet below the river bed. 

George H. West, of Greeley, writes of leading irrigation enterprises 
as follows : 

Pawnee Ditch and Improvement Company. — Canal 23 miles long; cost .$86,000 ; ditch 
covers 30,000 acres ; farms 40 to 400 acres each. 

The Sterling Irrigation Company. — Canal 10 miles long ; covers town of Sterling; 
7,000 acres ; farms 40 to 100 acres each. 

The South Platte Land and Irrigation Company. — Canal to cover 15,000 acres, not 
completed; water taken from the Platte River. 

The North Platte Irrigation and Land Company. — Water taken from the North Platte 
River ; canal covers delta between North and South Platte Rivers. The ditch is 28 
miles long. 

The Pneblo Land and Canal Company. — Water to be taken from the Arkansas River ; 
ditch 00 miles long. The work commenced early in 1885. Estimated cost, $500,000. 

Mr. West sends the following table of yields and markets: 



per acre. 

per 100 


20 to 40 
40 GO 
30 80 
100 600 
20 40 

$1 25 
1 20 

Oats < 

1 20 


1 30 

Market: Denver and mountain towns, Saint Louis, Kansas City, and New Orleans; flour sent as 
far as Boston. 

Fruits (small) are grown everywhere ; apples, plumbs, grapes, cherries, hardy kinds, do well ; peaches 
do not succeed. 


J. D. Buckley, civil engineer, of Greeley, sends the following valuable 
sketch : 

Union colony is situated in Weld County, State of Colorado. It was located in the 
spring of 1870, and the town of Greeley was laid out and building and other improve- 
ments commenced at the same time. The town is located in sections 5, 6, 7, and 8, 
township 5 north, range 65 west of the sixth principal meridian ; latitude 40° 25' 
north, longitude 27° 48' west from Washington; elevation above sea level, 4,800 feet. 
At the time the colony and town were located the whole country was, with few excep- 
tions, in its natural state, no improvements having been made except in a small way 
along the river. A few small irrigating ditches had been built to water portions of 
the low bottom lands, and sufficient farming had been done by the early settlers to 
demonstrate the fact that good crops of all kinds usually grown in this latitude could 
be raised successfully. 

The mesas or uplands were regarded as worthless for farming purposes, and only 
valuable for grazing, many of the best informed expressing the opinion that large 
and long irrigating canals to water the higher lands would be a failure. In support 
of this view it was said that the water would seep out and be lost before running in 
a canal any great distance, and that the land would be quickly exhausted if farmed, 
and various other reasons why upland farming would be liable to prove unsuccessful 
were pointed out. 

S. Mis. 15- 9 


Notwithstanding all the uncertainties that must he encountered, the projectors of 
" The Union Colony of Colorado," located in the Cache la Poudre Valley, purchased 
the land they required from private owners and the Denver Pacific Railway Company, 
homesteaded and pre-empted Government land, laid out the town, and proceeded to 
build irrigating canals to water the same. About 2,600 acres of land was bought of 
private owners for $28,000 and 9,300 acres of the railway company for $31,000. 

The colonists contracted with the railway company for all the land owned by them 
lying within the colony limits at an average price of $3 jjer acre. The Government 
land was acquired by the colonists under the homestead and pre-emption laws. The 
total amount of land originally occupied by the colony was about 30,000 acres, and 
remains about the same. Soon after locating the colony built a fence some 40 miles in 
length, inclosing all their lands including the town. This fence is still maintained, 
having been legalized by an act of the State legislature and being managed by a fence 
company. Each piece or parcel of land- pays an annual tax for its maintenance, the 
annual assessment being about $16 for each 80 acres, and in like proportion for larger 
or smaller tracts. No stock of any kind is allowed to run at large inside of this fence, 
and none have found it necessary to fence their premises, either in town or outside, 
except for their own convenience. The colony originally divided the land owned by 
them outside of the town limits into lots of 5, 10, 20, and 40 acres each, according to 
their proximity to town, and deeded them to members, w r ith perpetual right to water 
from the irrigating canals, for $150 each. 

Other members bought land of the railway company for $3 per acre or homesteaded 
or pre-empted Government land. To these the colony sold right to water in perpetuity 
for $150 for each 80 acres. All water rights are taxed annually a sufficient amount to 
pay for superintendence, maintenance, and improvement of the main canals, gener- 
ally from $12 to $24 annually for each 80 and in proportion for smaller subdivisions. 
Few of our farmers have more than 160 acres ; generally they have 80, and in some 
cases as low as 40 or even 20. 

The land occupied by the town, some 800 acres, originally cost the colony about $10 
per acre, or $8,000. It was subdivided into about fifteen hundred lots of suitable 
size and sold to members at an average price of about $300 for each ($50 for corner 
and $25 for inside lots), making about $45,000 as the amount received by the colony 
for lots. The cash value of these lots is lawfully $300 each, making $450,000. The 
outside or farming land originally cost members about $5 per acre with water, and 
is now worth on an average $25 per acre cash, with recent actual sales at $30 for 
land with no improvements except plowing and ditches, including water right, the 
colony having long since sold all the land and water owned by them and transferred 
all their right in the main canal used by the farmers to a corporation composed of 
farmers operating under it. This company issued its stock to the water right -owners 
on receiving a deed for their interest, each share of stock representing water for 10 
acres. In 1878, when this transfer was made, the par value was $40 for each share, 
making the value of an 80-acre water right $320. In 1881 the price rose to $100 per 
share, "and it now sells at $100 to $125. This stock has actually cost the original 
owners about its par value, $40 per share. When land is sold including water, the 
stock is transferred. Nearly all the larger canals are now owned and managed by 
corporations who have power to levy and compel payments of assessments and divide 
the water equitably among the users, thus preventing nearly all the trouble which 
formerly attended the management of the earlier canals. The water costs the farmer 
the same whether he is situated near the head or at the terminus of the canals, and 
the same principle has been adopted in the management of the subd itches or laterals, 
as it has been found that no canal from which a number of individuals receive their 
water can be successfully operated without a competent head. 

Union Colony constructed two irrigating canals and one for power and irrigation. 
The first canal built was for the purpose of supplying the town and adjacent lands 
lying along the south side of the river. This is called canal No. 3. This canal was 
taken from the river about 6 miles west of town, and was run on a grade or fall of 
about 3 feet per mile. Its original size was 8 feet in width at head, and somewhat 
smaller opposite town. Its length is 10 miles. It terminates on the delta between 
the Platte and Cache la Poudre Rivers. As originally constructed it would carry 
about 50 cubic feet of water per second. Original cost about $10,000. It has since 
been enlarged and improved, its present capacity being over 100 cubic feet per sec- 
ond. Cost to present time, including clam at head, about $25,000. 

The second canal built by the colony was taken out the river, about 15 miles west 
of town, for the purpose of watering the farming lands north of the river. As origi- 
nally constructed it was 10 feet in width on the'bottom at the head and for the first 
5 miles, and gradually diminished in size towards its terminus, its total length being 
26 miles. Grade or fall, 3.2 feet per mile ; capacity, 110 cubic feet per second. It was 
calculated to water some 20,000 acres of land. Its first cost was $25,000; has been 
enlarged from time to time, its capacity now being 585 cubic feet per second. It will 
furnish water for 25,000 acres in cultivation, with the usual variety of crops. Cost to 


date, $80,000, or about $3 per acre for land watered by it. It is now 25 feet in width 
on bottom at bead, and for the first 10 miles carries water 4.6 feet in depth, and is 30 
miles in length. The number of water rights of 80 acres each is 320, giving over 1.8 
cubic feet of water per second for each 80 acres, less about 10 per cent, for evapora- 
tion and seepage, or about 1.6 cubic feet per second for useful effect. As new land in 
wheat requires about 1 cubic foot of water for each square foot of surface for first 
watering, it would take over twenty-five days to water 80 acres with one water right, 
but generally only a portion of the tract is sown or planted the first year and less water 
is required after the first thorough irrigation. 

Very much depends on the surface quality of soil and subsoil, and amount of natural 
moisture in the ground, so that no very definite information can be given as to the 
amount of water necessary to irrigate a certain piece of ground. It is our experience 
that a cubic foot of water per second will water from 50 to 60 acres of land sown or 
planted with the usual variety of crops. In town more than double that quantity of 
water is used, as the more a stream of water is divided up the less ground it will water. 
Our farmers find it to their advantage to use two or three water rights when irrigat- 
ing a favorable piece of ground by changing with their neighbors. The Cache la 
Poudre River, from which the colony ditches are taken, generally furnishes the most 
water when most is needed. There is generally sufficient snow or rain to start crops 
in the spring and keep wheat and oats growing until the 1st of June. 

During June and July the maximum quantity of water is flowing in tire river, and 
it is during these months that most of the crops must be watered. The amount of water 
flowing in the river each day i9 ascertained at a gauging station located above all 
the canals, and the amount or proportion of the water to which each is entitled being 
known, the district commissioner or superintendent is enabled to divide the water 
equitably to all. The river or district commissioner is not usually called on unless 
there is a short supply of water, which usually occurs in the latter portion of the 
season. The water commissioner on each canal divides the water to each subditch 
or lateral, and the users divide it among themselves. Since the present State laws 
regulating the division and distribution of water were enacted and put in force, 
very little trouble has arisen in regard to the use of water for irrigation purposes. 

The maximum amount of water flowing in the river each year is very variable, 
ranging from less than 2,000 to over 6,000 cubic feet per second. As the canals taken 
from the river have a capacity and use for over 3,000 cubic feet per second, it will 
readily be seen that there is an element of uncertainty as to water supply and the 
future extension of the irrigation system. Water has already been appropriated and 
canals built sufficient to water over 200,000 acres in this valley, and it is not probable 
that this amount will be very materially increased. The total amount of water flow- 
ing in the river durjng the year would water more than double this quantity of land, 
but it can only be utilized by a system of storage reservoirs. Comparatively little has 
as yet been done in the way of storing water in the State, and it is not probable that 
much will be done for many years to come. Some natural depressions or basins of 
moderate capacity are used for this purpose where they chance to be available, but 
no purely artificial reservoirs worth mentioning have as yet been constructed. 

The great expense of building and maintaining large reservoirs makes it extremely 
improbable that our water system will be much extended in this way. Reservoirs to be 
of any use must be situated above the land to be watered, and where constructed in 
this vicinity on a small scale the land lying adjacent to them has generally been 
spoiled by the seepage. The parties owning land which is damaged by such seepage 
usually compel the owners of the reservoirs to stop using them for storing water. 
The influence of irrigation on the humidity of the atmosphere is very slight, being 
almost entirely local, and on new lands, outside of the irrigating canals, farming would 
be as certain to prove a failure as it would twenty years ago. 

If any climatic change ever occurs in this locality whereby the humidity and an- 
nual precipitation is permanently increased, it will not be due to the feeble efforts of 
man. The annual precipitation in this locality is from 12 to 20 inches, the average 
being 15 inches for the last twelve years as observed in Denver. The destruction of 
the timber in the mountains west of us will probably injuriously affect our water 
supply during the irrigating season by leaving the snow exposed to the direct rays 
of the sun, causing it to melt quickly and run off. The advance of the farmers from 
the East with a solid front, plowing up the entire surface, may produce some change, 
but such a change would be without a precedent. If our annual rainfall was double 
what it now is, farming could not be carried on successfully, except in favored local- 
ities, the evaporation being so rapid during the growing season. In towu, which is 
situated on what is called the second bench or bottom, some 25 feet above the level 
of the river opposite, gardens and lawns must generally be watered every week or 
ten days in dry weather, and our farmers do not stop irrigating on account of an 
occasional shower. Much as an increase of natural moisture may be desired in this 
dry and arid region, we can give no good reasons for expecting it. 


Although this town and surrounding country has heen irrigated for many years, 
raising the ground water, in portions of hoth town and country, nearly to the sur- 
face, causing it to partially till many of the cellars under dwelling houses, no malarial 
diseases have heen prevalent. The surface soil is generally a clay or sandy loam, from 
5 to 10 feet in depth, underlaid with clear sand or coarse gravel 25 to 30 feet in depth, 
which affords a good natural medium for the rapid transmission of surface water to 
lower levels, hut within the last few years more water has heen run on the surface in 
town than the natural drainage will carry away; and we are now constructing deep 
drains to prevent the water from rising ahove a certain level.' Said drains are located 
from 8 to 10 feet helow the surface and have a good fall to the river. Our farmers do 
not keep much stock, as they do not now, as formerly, have outside range for them. 
Alfalfa is grown hy nearly all our farmers and yields heavily. It is usually cut three 
times, giving from 4 to 7 tons per acre annually. 

The usual variety of crops is raised, wheat, corn, oats, and potatoes heing the prin- 
cipal ones. Wheat is still the main crop, and the quality and yield are generally 
good. It produces on an average over 25 bushels per acre, when properly put in and 
attended to. Average of all sown, about 20 bushels. Corn is quite extensively grown, 
and yields from 20 to 40 bushels per acre; oats about the same, and potatoes from 
none to 100 bushels per acre, much depending on soil, season, watering at proper 
time, blight, bugs, &c. In town and vicinity market gardening is successfully carried 
on. Of fruits, strawberries and raspberries are the ones mostly grown for profit. 
Standard apples are a failure, but most varieties of crabs do well. It would be diffi- 
cult to give the aggregate amount and value of all crops raised in this colony with- 
out having the report of the State census, taken last year, which is not now avail- 
able. Nearly all the land in the colony has been farmed continuously for the last 
ten years, and much of it longer, but its fertility does not seem to decrease. 

Crops when properly rotated do as well now as when the land was first broken. 
Scarcely any fertilizers are used on the farming land, and straw is usually burned to 
get it out of the way. The water used in irrigating the land carries a great amount 
of fertilizing matter, which is evenly distributed over the surface, fully replacing 
what is taken from the soil by the crops grown on it ; and it is the general opinion of 
those most conversant with the subject that the soil is practically inexhaustible. 


Mr. S. J. Gilinore, the manager, writes the Department as follows : 

Office, 456 La^mer Street. 
Denver, Colo., January 18, 1886. 
1 have received your circular asking for information regarding irrigation and colo- 
nies. Finding it difficult to answer your questions in regular order, I prefer to give 
you the information in a general letter. There are four large irrigation, enterprises in 
Colorado, located between Denver and Fort Collins, wkich have been completed prin- 
cipally by Scotch capitalists, and usually known in this State as the " English Com- 
pany." The first and largest of these, and probably the largest in America, is the 
Platte Canal (otherwise called the High Line Canal), which begins in the canon of the 
Platte River 20 miles south of Denver, and extends from there in a northeasterly 
course a distance of 83 miles, including one main branch of 13 miles. This canal has 
cost, in round numbers, $750,000, and is estimated to carry water for 50,000 acres. Its 
capacity is 1,184 cubic feet of water per second of time. The original value of the 
lands per acre was $2.50. The present selling prices, including the perpetual right to 
receive water every year from the canal, subject to a reasonable rental, range from $25 
to sl50 per acre, according to proximity to Denver. Good farming lands 10 milesfrom 
Denver are worth $25 to $50 per acre. The rent for water is $1.50 per acre for regular 
farming purposes, and for small tracts of 5 and 10 acres, used for market gardening, 
the price is $2 per acre. The basis of supply is in the ratio of 1 cubic foot of water 
per second of time for 53 acres. The principal products are wheat, oats, barJey, alfalfa, 
or lucern, some Indian corn, and vegetables of all kinds that grow in this latitude. 
Small fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are raised, most suc- 
cessfully and in large quantities. As this district is new, nothing can be said regard- 
ing apples, pears, and peaches, except that considerable numbers of trees have been 
planted within the past year or two. This canal is equipped w r ith a telephone line. 
It is arranged in divisions similar to those of a railroad, and on each division, during 
the irrigation season, there is a foreman who is intrusted with the care of the division 
and the distribution of the water from the canal. Each foreman has telephone com- 
munication from his division to the general office in Denver, and to the manager's 
residence and the residence of the chief engineer in the same city. Each of these 
foremen is required to ride to the end of his division and back once a day during the 
irrigation season, which I may say is from the 1st of May to the 1st of October. There 

Showing fke Irrigation- Worfis, 
Canals &I)itches ) wiffiLands0fihe 


S Mis lASL. 49 2 



are large outlets in tlie caual (which are usually known as penstocks), at which 
places the water flows out of the canal through clay pipes of 18 inches in diameter; 
at the outer end.of the pipes the water is regulated by sluice gates. The water is de- 
livered into laterals, which are made by the farmers and frequently a dozen farmers 
are all interested in one main lateral, from which they draw water into sublaterals 
as it passes their farms. About 15,000 acres of land are now farmed under this canal 
and the area is increasing with reasonable rapidity. 

The next enterprise of importance is the Larimer and Weld Canal, which is about 
30 miles long and is capable of irrigating 25,000 acres of land. There are now 22,000 
acres under cultivation. This canal is situated 6 miles north of the town of Greeley, 
where the members of the famous " Greeley Colony " mostly reside. Farming has 
been carried on with great success there, the principal crops being wheat and "oats. 
The average yield of wheat is 20 to 22 bushels per acre. 

The next and third of these enterprises is the Loveland and Greeley Canal, which 
is 25 miles long. It extends from the mountains to the town of Greeley, and will 
carry a volume of water sufficient to irrigate 20,000 acres, of which there are now 
about 6,000 acres in cultivation. 

The fourth and last enterprise is the Platte Valley Canal, which has been completed 
a distance of 20 miles, and will be extended 15 to 20 miles farther withiu the next 
few years. Irrigation under this canal was begun only this season, and there are now 
5,000 acres under cultivation. The canal will carry water for 20, 000 acres. Before 
the last three named canals were built the value of the lands was not to exceed $2.50 
per acre. They were of no value except for grazing purposes. The construction of 
the canals increases the value of the lauds immediately to about $10 per acre, exclu- 
sive of water privileges. The water privileges are then sold at prices ranging from 
,$10 to $15 per acre, thus making the cost of the land together with the water $20 to 
$25 per acre. Water rights are sold from this canal at the rates above named, subject 
to an annual assessment of $10 to $15 on each water right. A water right is what ir- 
rigates 80 acres. Under this plan of disposing of the water, no rent is charged, and 
when all the water rights have been sold on the basis of 1 cubic foot per second for 
53 acres, the canal will be turned over to the persons who have purchased the water 
rights, who will then own it and operate it as they please. The average rainfall in 
this district varies from 12 to 15 inches per annum, including melted snow. It is sup- 
posed by quite a number of superficial thinkers that the rainfall has increased con- 
siderably, but an investigation of rainfall statistics will not prove this. Irrigation 
has not been practiced long enough here to have any perceptible effect on health. I 
inclose herewith a map showing the location of the four canals herein referred to. 

In another communication Mr. Gilmore writes : 

Farms near Denver, under the Platte Canal, range from 10 acres up to 200. Ten 
miles from the city farms are from 80 acres to 640 acres in extent. Under the other 
three canals farms range from 80 to 640, average probably about 160 acres. Non-irrig- 
able land in Colorado, or land to which a water right is not attached, is of no value 
except for grazing ; and as it takes a large acreage to graze a full-grown animal (esti- 
mated at from 15 to 40 acres, according to character of grass), its value is not to exceed 
$2.50 per acre. With water right attached, the same land would be worth $15 to $30 
per acre, where value is not directly influenced by some favorable surroundings, such 
as town or city. 

Mr. Gilmore sends the folio wing table showing clearness, &c, of the 
atmosphere at Denver for thirteen years past : 


January . 
February . 
March .... 





August — 

Average for thirteen years. 

Clear. ! Fair. 


Cloudy. Sunny. 



Days. Days. 























Average moisture, 12 to 15 inches annually. Temperature moderate. 
Lower altitudes seem to have heavier falls of snow. Same influences 
(the Rocky Mountains) that deprive us of rains prevent heavy snows, 
and the heat and cold do not seem to be so intense as in the more humid 
atmospheres. Statistics do not show that moisture has increased from 
the sky. Irrigation of course increases moisture in the earth very much, 
especially where unskillful farmers think they cannot put too much 
water on their crops. Irrigation does not seem to have had any effect 
at all on health. Soil is very productive where irrigation is properly 


Henry McAllister, jr., a well-known citizen of Colorado, made an 
address at the State Forestry Convention of 1884, held at Colorado 
Springs, from which the following interesting testimony is taken: 

I do not believe that the great plains can he forested until the rainfall is increased. 
I do helieve it will he-increased by the gradual but sure cultivation of the soil iu 
Kansas aud Nebraska, and the march of civilization to the west from the Missouri 
Valley. Cultivated fields, by holding the water that falls upon them, act as reser- 
voirs. The settlement of Illinois, Kentucky, and Teunessee has greatly increased the 
rainfall in Iowa and Missouri. The settlement of the last two States has largely in- 
creased the rainfall in Kansas and Nebraska. When the writer came to Colorado in 
1872, he was told by the officials of the Kansas Pacific Railroad that nothing would 
ever be grown west of Salina, as the rainfall was insufficient. Now, immense crops 
of corn, wheat, and oats are grown every year far to the westward of that town, about 
98° 30' west from Greenwich. At places in Nebraska along the line of the Union 
Pacific and Burlington and Missouri railroads the rainfall has greatly increased 
within a few years. The buffalo grass is being killed oil' by moisture, where nothing 
else could grow ten years ago. I am sure that a field of corn exercises the same in- 
fluence upon the atmosxdnere that a forest of like extent does, and it only requires 
three months to grow it. In a few years there will be an irruption of corn and wheat 
fields upon the eastern borders of Colorado, and stall-fed cattle and sheep will take 
the place of our range stock clear up to the base of the mountains. Forests of de- 
ciduous trees will beautify the rolling prairies. 



The following report, made by Mr. Frank E. JerOine, of the Becord, 
Russell, Kans., was prepared at the request of this Department. After 
a general statement as to the effect ot cultivation on treeless regions, 
Mr. Jerome says : 

My remarks upon this subject are restricted to Western Kansas, where the advanc- 
ing settlement and cultivation have proved, of wonderful benefit to a portion of the 
treeless land that had been designated as a barren desert. E>y this cultivation the 
humidity of the atmosphere has been increased ; tree planting is slowly but surely be- 
coming successful ; drouths, once so frequent in this region, are becoming of more short 
duration, and millions of bushels of small grain successfully raised demonstrate the 
practicability of farming operations in this region. And as the humidity increases, 
we notice that the chalk beds are surely changing, the alkali beds are disappearing, 
tame grasses are obtaining a foothold, and every other indication of a prosperous 
future is appeariug. It is gratifying also to notice the increase of rainfall, the burst- 
ing out of new springs in places where they were totally unlooked for heretofore, dry 
wells becoming filled with water, and other indications of a like character. But 
while this is true, these changes, though sure, are slow, and the popular demand is 
for some immediate help that will more rapidly assist the workings of nature and 
provide means whereby agricultural pursuits can be a certainty; and these means 
being out of the reach of individuals, the strong support of the Government is the 
only one that can possibly be appealed to. 

We notice in looking over the meteorological conditions of a region, that in some 
manner there appears fo be a common union between the ground and rain storms. 


This is most apparent in contrasting the difference between a prairie and a wooded 
country, and it is by studying these phenomena that we are enabled to arrive at a 
correct solution of the matter. The soils of deserts, where rain seldom or never falls, 
is composed of arenaceous beds, with strata of slate or shale underlying them. The 
water deposited by a rain storm penetrates this sand and gravel, and is carried off on 
the surface of the underlying slate or shale, leaving not a vestige behind. Where 
this shale has a large depression and the water remains, an oasis is created in the 
midst of the burning waste, that is renowned for its fertility. In prairie countries 
where the soil has become hard by centuries of exposure, the water cannot penetrate 
through, but flows from its surface into the creeks and rivers, and in a few hours 
evaporation has reduced the surface to its former condition, and like the desert it 
has had no beneficial results. What is true in this last case applies with similar 
force to the condition of Western Kansas in 1859, and any beneficial results since then 
are solely due to settlement and cultivation. In treeless prairies we notice something 
similar in the action of the undercurrents to those in deserts, but the surface is far 
different. Western Kansas, embracing something like 50,000 square miles in 1871, 
was very nearly covered with buffalo grass — a grass with broad, sx>reading roots that, 
matting together near the surface, shed water with almost the precision of oil cloth, 
no moisture whatever penetrating to any great depth, no matter how heavy the rain- 
fall. A.t the present day, under cultivation, this grass has' begun to disappear, though 
the greater portion of the indicated region remains unchanged, owing to the sparseness 
of settlement. It is interesting to note the changes produced as this grass gradually 
disappears. As the rain pours upon this grass, the action of a given quantity appears 
to be detrimental to its growth, the blades grow weaker and smaller, the roots become 
loose and brittle, and .as the plant dies, the moisture creeps into the ground, pene- 
trating deeper and deeper each year. During the summer months, when the upper 
soil has become heated from the sun's rays, this moisture is steamed up to the roots 
of the plant, which makes the decay of the grass more rapid. The grass that takes 
the place of the buffalo grass is the blue joint, a grass capable of absorbing and re- 
taining a vast amount of water. 

It is plain that the remedies needed to transform a desert to a fertile region, and a 
prairie country like Western Kansas from an arid to a humid region are entirely oppo- 
site. The desert requires some substance to be mingled with the gravel in order 
to prevent the water penetrating, while in Western Kansas one of the great changes 
needed is the extinction of the buffalo grass, so that moisture can thoroughly pene- 
trate the soil and decompose the underlying shale. Where this has been done in 
this State a marked increase in the humidity of the air has been noticed. It is very 
apparent that«a large share of this increase has been produced by cultivation of the 
soil and extinction of the buffalo grass, together with the planting of trees, largely en- 
couraged by the Government in the form of timber-culture entries. 

The economic value of the soil is largely due to its formation, the larger portion be- 
ing of the cretaceous period, and represented by the three groups, Dakota, Benton, 
and Niobrara. The soil is a rich loam, from 3 to 12 feet in thickness, and lies uni- 
formly upon a stratum of yellow clay of varying thickness. This yellow clay con- 
tains lime, magnesium, and aqueous iron, which in large portions form the magnesium 
limestone of this region (magno ferro calcite). These rocks are porous in structure, 
and, like a sponge, absorb water, which in heated, drouthy weather they give out to 
the roots of plants, making them thrive where under any other circumstances they 
would die for want of moisture. This is why some crops grow and do well for weeks 
without a drop of rain to nourish them through a drouth. But, as in all new coun- 
tries, it is not entirely safe to rely upon these changes which are being made, which 
at best are extremely slow, and the great need exists for a water supply at ready 
demand for this region which can be used with benefit now in assisting agricultural 
pursuits and making tree-culture a permanent success. One thing above all others is 
necessary to this end, and that is irrigation. In the southwestern part of this State, 
in some localities, irrigation is successfully accomplished, but in the upper half of the 
State it is impracticable, owing to the lowness of the beds of the streams compared 
with the surrounding country. 

The only way in which irrigation can be successfully used in the western part of the 
State is either by artesian wells or artificial ponds. It is a noteworthy fact that 
with the increase of humidity, as indicated, the volume of water in the streams has 
been steadily increasing and becoming more uniform than heretofore ; but while this 
is true, and while the water in these streams would be nearly sufficient for irrigation if 
i could be used, it cannot as a general thing be reached for this purpose. 

The water sources of Western Kansas are represented chiefly by the following 
streams : Republican River, North and South Forks of the Solomon River in the 
northern part, Saline and Smoky Rivers in the central part, and the Arkansas and 
Cimarron River in the southern part. The stream having the largest volume of Avater 
is the Arkansas, next the Republican, then the Solomon, while the Saline, Smoky, 
and Cimarron are about equal. Along tho Arkansas in some places irrigation is sue- 


cessfully accompli shed, but to the best of my knowledge it is impracticable on the 
other streams. The volume of water in the streams is increased each spring by the 
melting of suow in the mountains, and also by the heavy rains which frequently visit 
this part of the State in February, March, and April, but it decreases as summer ap- 
proaches unless heavy rain-storms prevail, when it is very common for the streams to 
rise out of their banks. 

The question that is of vital importance to this part of the State is that of artesian 
wells. Should these be obtained irrigation could be successfully carried on, the humid - 
ity of the air could be rapidly increased, aud the treeless prairies, with the greatest 
ease, could be transformed into a beautiful, fertile country, rich in everything that 
tends to make a country productive and j>rosperous. The question of artesian water 
has been revived in Western Kansas by the remarkable success attained at Denver, Col., 
it naturally being inferred that the veins of water encountered there must underlie 
this region. 

Mr. Jerome gives an account of the well (not used on account of trouble 
with the contractor) at Eussell, Kans., in which flowing water was 
obtained at a depth of 977 feet, after passing a vein of hot water and 
two of salt water. He also describes a gas well near Eussell, one in the 
Solomon Valley, and one in Smith County. He then proceeds : 

The lessons that the Russell artesian well and these gas wells teach, as I interpret 
them, are as follows : 

In Nebraska, 6 or 10 miles north of the Kansas State line, and almost in a true line 
north and south of the wells just mentioned, I found the shale to be 170 feet in 
thickness. At Smith Center it is about 107 or 110 feet in thickness ; in the western 
part of Osborne County, 105 or 107 feet ; in Russell, 1Q4 feet ; south of here, in Barton 
County, 104 feet ; in the southwestern part of Reno County, 100 feet ; southwest of 
Sedgwick County, 97 feet, and in Sumner County, 80 feet. I mention these localities 
because they are in the line of the general maximum thickness of the shale, which is 
much thinner to the east and west of these localities. The boiling hot water encount- 
ered in the Russell artesian well comes to the surface in Sumner County and is 
capable of boiling an egg even in that exposed condition. I believe that a depression 
exists along the line just indicated with a mean width of 20 miles at the surface, and 
that the peculiar roaring heard in these gas welly is caused by these underground 
currents of artesian water rushing down the sides of this declivity, giving rise to the 
sulphureted hydrogen gas by attrition with pyritiferous rocks, which the Russell 
well shows exist below. This current of water, in failing into this depression, nat- 
urally follows this course, like the stream of a river in its bed, and is carried south, 
then southeast. East of this line I expect artesian water will be encountered at 
only very great depths, but on the western side at a comparative easy distance. The 
difficulty encountered at the Cheyenne wells is plainly perceived when it is understood 
that this water runs in veins, and not in sheets, and moreover the locality chosen is 
on a ridge, geologically speaking, and the water would naturally course around it, 
instead of to it. The attention of the Government is more particularly called to the 
advisability of boring for artesian water at the following places where indications 
exist : Russell, Gorham, Hays City, Ellis, and Wa Keeney, on the Kansas Division, 
Union Pacific Railroad, and at Cawker City, Gaylord, Kirwin, Norton Center, Os- 
borne City, and Stockton, on Central Branch Union Pacific Railroad. All of these 
places give similar indications, and I feel confident will produce favorable results. 
Along the line of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa F6 Railroad I have not been able 
to explore, and can make no personal report for that section of the State. I am al- 
most under the impression that a large vein of artesian water trends from the west, 
going northeast toward Atchison, and it maybe from this source whence Chicago 
derives its wells. One of the many reasons I have for believing in the existence of 
artesian water at the localities mentioned is as follows : 

I have procured a sample of the rock found in the Denver artesian wells. In the 
Russell artesian well, at a depth of 395 feet, a 1-inch vein of this rock was encountered, 
which, within fifteen minutes, raised a 223-foot column of water 7 inches in diameter 
7 feet. At the gas wells the same rock has been encountered in different stages, and 
also at the localities named above. It is true that these small strata do not belong to 
the true vein, but they are valuable from the fact that they are spurs or offshoots from 
the parent vein and indicate its presence. No geologist can by any rule or system 
locate exactly the source or depth of artesian water, as it cuts through geological 
strata with impunity and often appears where it is least expected, a fact that is very 
strikingly illustrated in the New York wells, which are encountered in some cases in 
the hard granite. The only way to locate the vein is to either find it, or discover a 
spur or offshoot from it, or from the action of water that may lie close to it. 

One measure, however, which would at least transform Western Kansas into a most 
beautiful country would be that of artificial ponds for irrigating purposes. There is 


not one farm of 160 acres of land in Western Kansas, to my knowledge, that could Dot 
be thoroughly irrigated in this manner. The general surface is rolling, and ravines 
are numerous. It would be a very easy task to choose a place most convenient on a 
farm, dam up one end of the ravine or depression, and the rainwater flowing into it 
would in a short time produce a pond of sufficient capacity to water any and all 
crops that might be raised. There are many years when this pond would not be 
needed. Take, for example, the present year, when the crops have grown to such an 
enormous extent that it was impossible to harvest them completely, wheat yielding 
from 25 to 60 bushels per acre, and corn from 30 to 60 bushels, sayin g nothing of the 
tons upon tons of excellent prairie hay that has been cut. But it is best to be pro- 
vided with ample means m case of drouth, so that crops of all Muds shall be perma- 
nently sure. These ponds can be successfully managed, as we have several of them in 
successful operation. One of these is owned by Dr. Haise of this county, who has 
stocked it with lish, and is finding fish culture a paying investment to combine with 
his pond. These ponds the first year, after being filled, will lose water by its pene- 
trating the ground, but at the second or third year the pores of the ground have been 
filled and the water will remain permanently. 

The aid of the Government would be beneficial in this respect in offering a bounty 
to every actual settler, who would make and maintain a pond of certain dimensions 
for this purpose, for a certain number of years, and the State could add to this such 
an additional amount as would pay a farmer handsomely for keeping and maintain- 
ing two or three of these ponds upon his land. With these in successful operation, 
tree-planting would be successful, grain of all kinds would be assured, and the 
humidity of the air would reach such a degree that permanent changes and favorable 
results would be reached, that could scarcely be hoped for under the present system 
in less than half a century. 


The following interesting paper and preceding summary is from the 
pen of the Be v. John D. Parker, post chaplain at Fort Hays, Kansas, 
who is also editor of the Centropos, the weekly newspaper of the place: 

Inclosed please find a copy of my paper, read before the Kansas Academy of Science 
at the last annual meeting at Lawrence, which you solicited. Perhaps it may present 
a few points of interest : 

(1) It gives a summary of our vegetation on the plains, presenting the results at- 
tained by the actual experience of our oldest settlers. 

(2) It furnishes a meteorological summary, which proves the increase of our rain- 
fall, which has been disputed by Eastern scientists. 

(3) It utters a warning to immigrants of the danger of engaging in general farm- 
ing in the western portion of KansaEs, where multitudes have lost all their posses- 

(4) It offers the suggestion that some tree may be found in foreign countries better 
adapted to the great central plains of North America than any now cultivated on the 

John J. Case, volunteer observer, United States Signal Service, writes me from 
Allison, Decatur County, Kansas, the following valuable statement of his experience 
and observations : 

" My location here is about on the line which at present divides the semi-agricul- 
tural settlements from the strictly pastoral region. I am west of the one hundredth 
meridian, on the headwaters of the Solomon River. Our streams here are from 8 to 16 
miles apart, and are fed by springs. I have observed that they increase in volume 
every night and fall during the day. I have also noted that our springs increase 
their flow for a short period preceding each rain-storm. The divides, or table-lands, 
between our streams are several hundred feet above them (over 3,000 above sea level) ; 
they yield water in wells at depths ranging from 100 to 175 feet. The constant ad- 
vance to the west of the limits of successful agriculture in the State has established 
the fact that the climate changes, and that atmospheric humidity, quantity of rain- 
fall, and volume of water in streams, increase as the country becomes broken by the 
plow. The short growth of mesquite and buffalo grass with which our plains are 
covered possesses little moisture, and generally dries in midsummer, thus favoring the 
formation of the hot winds so dreaded by the frontier farmer. The physical forma- 
tion of the country has been built up under the hoofs of the buffalo. Their bones 
are found at all depths in our soil. They have for ages grazed and galloped in count- 
less numbers over these plains, and have so hardened and compacted our soil that 
the water from our thunder-storms — our chief supply for purposes of agriculture — 
flows off into the streams before half of it has time to soak into the hardened sur- 
face. With the breaking up of the soil this is changed. The rainfall is all absorbed by 


the loosened soil, and, returning gradually by evaporation to the air, it equalizes the 
temperature, making the hot days cooler and our usually cool nights warmer. The 
hot winds, saturated with moisture, come freighted with wealth instead of ruin for 
the farmer. The moist vapor from the green tields of growing grain and from the 
damp soil prove effectual to attract and stay the course of passing clouds, which 
yield their fulness. 

" I can refer you to Aldine Township, in the adjoining county of Norton, which, 
having been largely broken up six or seven years ago, has never since failed to re- 
ceive sufficient rains, and to raise good crops every year, while the regions surround- 
ing on every side, not so generally cultivated, failed to get the rains, and conse- 
quently to raise such good crops. 

''Where a region is purely pastoral, as it is south and west of here, the close graz- 
ing and tramping of cattle keep back the growth of blue-joint and other large grasses, 
and foster the growth of mesquite, buffalo, and gramma grasses, which seem to be 
unaffected by drought. With the advent of the plow, however, the breaking up of 
large areas and consequent increase in atmospheric humidity, especially where the 
soil is no longer overrun and closely grazed by large herds of stock, there comes a 
noticeable increase in the blue joint and other large grasses, which quickly drive out 
the short growths, and from their succulent leafage evaporate their share of moisture 
to increase the climatic change. 

"No irrigation has been practiced in this vicinity, our streams not having sufficient 
water for that purpose, and no artesian wells have been attempted. Some sugges- 
tions have been made as to trying here the Australian plan of building surface reser- 
voirs by damming our ravines or drains to hold the water from our occasional heavy 
rains, but the idea has never been put in practice. The history of the agricultural 
occupation or settlement of Kansas has been like a description of the incoming tide. 
With each period of abundant rainfall and consequent good crops on the frontier 
comes a wave of immigration, which passes the old and makes a new frontier line. 
This is driven back by a year or more of dry weather and poor crops, but never so far 
back as the preceding line. Then follows another period of sufficient rainfall and 
good crops, and another wave, which overlaps the preceding one, and then part way 
recedes, each advance of the agricultural settlements bringing a climatic "change and 
permanently reclaiming a part of the so-called desert. With this change in atmos- 
pheric humidity always occurs a corresponding change in the grasses, the shorter dis- 
appearing before those of more luxuriant growth." 

Western Kansas, or that portion of the State lying west of the ninety-eighth merid- 
ian, comprises an area of about 40,000 square' miles. People of the Eastern States 
have imbibed the most radical misconceptions of this territory regarding its soil, 
climate, and vegetation. Large numbers of immigrants have been induced to settle 
on these Western plains, without any knowledge of the adaptations of nature, or any 
adequate preparation to meet the necessities of the new country, and have lost all 
their possessions. Others have come with more knowledge of the country, and with 
a better preparation to meet its requirements, and have made comfortable homes, and 
are becoming prosperous and rich. 

No problem is presented to the people of Kansas of more importance than this : to 
determine the natural resources of Western Kansas, to ascertain the adaptations of 
soil and climate to vegetation, and to put settlers in possession of facts necessary to 
enable them to make permanent and comfortable homes. I believe that under in- 
telligent treatment, and with proper adaptations to nature, W T estern Kansas may be- 
come one of the richest and most prosperous portions of the West. With this in view 
I have treated this subject in a popular and practical way, rather than in a strictly 
scientific manner. 

The physical features of Western Kansas are simple and easily understood. This 
region consists of high, rolling prairies, interspersed with bottom-lands, and has a 
gentle slope toward the east and southeast. Passing from the northern to the south- 
ern limit of the State we cross six principal streams, the Republican, Solomon, Saline, 
Smoky Hill, Arkansas, and Cimarron. These principal streams have more than two 
hirndred affluents, which, with countless drains, give the whole country the most 
perfect drainage. The soil of these high rolling prairies is mainly a rich alluvium, 
and, with favorable climatic influences, is adapted to all the forms of vegetation pro- 
duced elsewhere in this latitude. 

The meteorological conditions of Western Kansas are important in their bearing on 
vegetation and should be carefully studied. Fort Hays, located in north latitude 38° 
59', longitude 99°j with an altitude of 2,107 feet, affords about an average for West- 
ern Kansas. The average rainfall for the last live years has been between 19 and 20 
inches. During this period the maximum temperature was 110, on July 20, 1881, 
with a south wind estimated at seven on the Smithsonian scale, a violent gale. I 
suppose this exceedingly high state of the thermometer must be caused by the hot 
wind being driven on the thermometer, so that it is affected, as it were, by the direct 


heat of tlie sun. The minimum temperature for the last three years was 26° below 
zero, occurring January 9, 1881. 

The chief difficulty of the climate in Western Kansas is not so much a deficient 
average rainfall, as the danger existing in extremes. Now and then we have a dry 
year, and hot wiDds that destroy the crops. Hot winds will sometimes destroy the 
green corn in a day. At such times people shut themselves up in their houses, as they 
would during a simoon. The prairie grass dries up ; still there is enough nutriment 
left in the dried grass for cattle to live on the range. But late crops, such as corn 
and vegetables, are utterly destroyed. 

The meteorological conditions of much of Western Kansas are not advanced enough 
yet to admit of general farming with any degree of safety, and the sooner immigrants 
from all parts of the world learn this fact the better it will be for them and all con- 
cerned. Still, every year the country is growing better, the rainfall is gradually in- 
creasing, the rain-belt is traveling west from 10 to 15 miles a year, and the time is not 
remote when many crops in Western Kansas will be nearly as certain as in any other 
portion of the State. The immense area of virgin prairie broken in Kansas every 
year continually favors the retention of a greater amount of moisture in the soil, 
which, evaporating, is condensed and precipitated in more frequent and copious 
showers, thus gradually increasing the rainfall. At Fort Leavenworth, for nineteen 
years immediately preceding the settlement of Kansas, the average rainfall was 30.96 
inches, while for the nineteen years immediately following, the average rainfall was 
36.21 inches, giving an average increase of 5.21 inches per annum. If we divide the 
periods of observation into two equal parts, the twenty years' records at Fort Riley 
give an increase of 3.05 inches of rainfall per annum, the twenty-four years' records 
at Manhattan give an increase of 5.61 inches, and the seventeen years' records at 
Lawrence give an increase of 3.06 inches. If we express the rainfall of these three 
stations in per cent., the increase in the second half of these periods mentioned has 
been, at Lawrence, 9 per cent. ; at Manhattan, 20 per cent., and at Fort Riley, 13 per 
cent. Western Kansas will undoubtedly experience a similar increase of rainfall 
following its general settlement, which vegetation already indicates in many ways ; 
but as it lies west of the meridian forming the western boundary of the Gulf of Mex- 
ico, larger amounts of vapor will always be transported by the south winds over the 
eastern than over the western portions of the State, to be condensed and precijritated 
in rain. 

The grasses of this region are varied and sufficient for stock purposes. The buffalo 
grass (bucliloe dactyl oides), whose roots are very penetrative, extends from the British 
possessions to Mexico, passing over this region, and has been the support of countless 
numbers of buffalo, deer, and. antelopes in all seasons of the year, and also furnishes 
the support of the animals of the recent settler. Tame grasses, that is, timothy and 
clover, have not done well, but some blue grass in my yard this summer has made a 
vigorous growth. 

Western Kansas is peculiarly well adapted to raising stock. Settlers who have 
turned their attention to this industry have generally done well. Cattle are turned 
out on the range the year round, but shelter for stock during the winter is humane 
and profitable. Cattle are increasing very rapidly. 

The main cereals of this region at the present time are wheat, rye, and winter oats. 
Wheat and rye are staple productions and are quite certain crops. Probably no other 
portion of the State is better adapted to the production of winter wheat than Western 
Kansas. The golden grain (at the present writing, July 15, 1884 ) waves in the breeze 
in all directions, aud will give an estimated yield of from 20 to 30 bushels to the acre. 
The air is full of the noise of reapers and headers, and the threshers, driven with their 
little steam engines, are going out in various directions for their fall work. Last 
year about 500,000 bushels of winter wheat were marketed at Hays City, and the esti- 
mated amount this year will be double that of last year. Sorghum is a very certain 
crop, and promises to become valuable under the new methods for the manufacture 
of sugar. 

At our post garden at Fort Hays we raise the principal vegetables in great abun- 
dance. Lieut. J. A. Manley, United States Army, the officer detailed to superintend 
the garden, has kindly given me his experience as follows: 

"We raise lettuce, radishes, and the early varieties of green peas. The later varieties 
are exceptional. The early varieties of eight-rowed corn, yellow and flint, grow well 
but the larger varities, and sweet corn, are liable to be killed by the hot winds which 
sometimes visit us. String beans grow occasionally, and early beets and early turnips 
do well. Set onions are very sure. Irish potatoes are occasional, but sweet potatoes 
are more certain. Salsify does well. We can raise apples, plums and cherries. Straw- 
berries do well, and raspberries are occasional. Raspberries start well, but are liable 
to dry up and be small. Tomatoes are doubtful and early cabbage occasional. Water- 
melons grow, butmuskmelonsand squashes are doubtful ? on account of insects, which 
prey on their rough leaves. 


"But tree culture is the great problem before us. If one eighth of the territory of 
Western Kansas could be covered with forests, it would become one of the most pro- 
ductive portions of our country. This question needs to be studied in the light of 
physical features, soil, rainfall, hot winds, maximum and minumuin temperature, and 
t lie adaptation of vegetable forms to the necessary conditions of the country. We 
need forests for the wood and shade which they furnish, for the moisture they pre- 
cipitate and retain, and for obstructions to the force of winds, which at times render 
our homes and stock uncomfortable, our orchards and fruit unsafe, and our crops liable 
to great injury. Abundant forests would doubtless prevent the hot winds, which are 
more destructive to crops than any other thing, and would also have a tendency to 
drive the tornadoes into the upper regions of the atmosphere, and render them harm- 

' ' In arboreal culture we have many things to learn. We find that the standard trees 
of the Eastern States, such as the sugar'maple, beech, white and golden willows, 
larches, firs, and spruces, do not do well in Western Kansas." 

Mr. Parker gives a general description of the trees he considers 
adapted or adaptable to the western plains of Kansas. These include 
the osage orange [Maclm a aurantiaca) ; the hackberry (Celt is Occident- 
alis) ; the ash-leaved maple (Negundo aceroides) ; the green ash (Fraxinus 
viridis) ; the cotton wood (Populus monilifera) ; the black walnut (Jvglans 
nigra) ; the red elm ( JJlmus fulva) ; the white elm ( Ulmins americana) ; 
the European elm (Ulmus canvpestris) ; the honey locust (Gleditschia); 
the black locust (Eobinia pseudacaeia) ; the wild cherry (Prunus serotina); 
the ailanthus (grandulosus) ; and the red cedar (Jun-iperus virginianus). 
Mr. Parker adds : 

Some other kinds of trees are grown on the great plains, but these are the principal 
varieties. Now, amidst all these varieties we have not one forest tree that stands re- 
lated to the necessities of man, as the oak does in the Eastern States. We have not 
one tree that is adapted to make a forest, as the great oak family is. On general 
principles, I believe such a tree exists somewhere in the world. Nature has wonder- 
ful adaptations. Some flowers blossom in the snow, or very near to it, and some ani- 
mals live in hot springs. Would it not be a good work for the Government to look 
for such a tree in foreign lands ? Through its multitudinous correspondents it could 
ascertain whether such a tree exists or not. Trees adapted to a climate such as pre- 
vails over our western prairies could be transplated to an experimental farm on the 
western plains and thoroughly tested by experts in tree-culture. When the right 
tree is found actual settlers could be supplied in small quantities, so they could begin 
to grow forests, and sufficient inducements should be held out to them "by the State 
and General Government to have trees planted in suitable groves all over our western 
plains. Such intelligent treatment of our western prairies would convert them from 
their present condition into the finest and richest and most productive portion of our 


F. E. Jerome, of Kussell, writes the compiler of this report as fol- 

In your letter of inquiry you say — 

" (1) The Department will be obliged to you for any hints at engineering projects 
and systems such as you may think would tend directly to the creation of a storage, 
as well as a larger distribution of water. 

" (2) As to your (my) own views and the views of others about national aid toward 
the utilization of the larger water sources and supplies. 

" (3) And as to how community as well as individual and property rights can be 
best subserved in this matter of water uses." 

In answer to the above, I beg to submit the following : 

I do not believe that any engineering projects can be of much good as applied 
to any of the rivers of Western Kansas, except in the southwestern part of the State, 
and as I have not visited that portion I can give no report from personal knowledge. 
But I am well convinced that immense beneiit to at least two-thirds of Western Kan- 
sas would be insured by locating various water reservoirs on the hills in that part of 
the State including the Blue Hills, which are at an approximate elevation of 150 feet 
above land in their immediato vicinity, and 250 above land within 5 or 10 miles north 
and south that could be irrigated in this manner. The hills extends to the western 
line of the State, and have an available slope sufficient for this purpose along their 
entire length. 


The hills in many places afford a flat surface at their summit from 3 to 4 miles in 
width, sufficient for the location of water reservoirs of immense capacity. Troughs 
or ditches could be run into these reservoirs from north to south on top of the hills 
that would cause these reservoirs to he filled by rain or snow storms, affording a 
ready supply for all practical demands for irrigating purposes without further expense 
than constructing the reservoirs and digging ditches thereto. Where these large 
water reservoirs are not practicable, a Government bounty to settlers who would 
maintain artificial ponds on their farms, as recommended in my former report, might 
secure good results. These water reservoirs should all be under the management or 
supervision of a water inspector, whose duty should be to report annually to the 
Agricultural Department at Washington, D. C, on the following subjects : 

(1) The humidity of the air, an observation having been taken every six months, 
stating increase or decrease since reservoirs were started. 

(2) Condition of grasses, trees, or growing grain for the year past, as compared 
with former years, with suggestions for experiments that may be desired. 

(3) Condition of soil, rocks, and mineral deposits, showing what changes have been 
observed during the establishment of these reservoirs; also the increase or decrease 
of water in wells, new or exhausted springs, &c. 

(4) Regarding repairs needed ; times and length of times water has been needed 
for irrigation ; new ditches needed, &c. 


A Government tax levied on those using water would defray the current expenses 
of maintaining these reservoirs and would thus make them self-sustaining and suc- 

The report of the water inspector would clearly show to the Department the prog- 
ress in agriculture made by this system, and would enable the Department to judge 
just when they should be discontinued, for the time would come when this would be 
made necessary by the permanent increase of humidity and the successful growth of 
trees and tame grasses, which would then take the place of the reservoirs in a per- 
manent and prosperous form. 

Community as well as individual rights could best be subserved, by petitions to 
the Department through the water inspector in order to best understand just what 
was needed, and the best and easiest plan in granting or refusing the matter asked 
for, as the case might be. 


(1) Give location, geographical and postal, of your colony or enterprise, area thereof , past 
and present, any facts hearing thereon; also size of colony, farms, and ranches. 

The manager and superintendent of the Kansas Irrigation and Water- 
Power Company writes : 

Our location is Garden City, Finney County. The number of acres under our sys- 
tem of ditches is about 40,000. The water is supplied by two ditches, at a cost of 
about $1 per acre. The number of acres uuder actual cultivation is about 6,000. 

Edward Bussell, of Lawrence in reply, says : 

Our location is Finney County. The canal runs for 20 miles along the bluff on the 
north side of the Arkansas River, gradually rising up the bluff, as the latter slopes 
eastward by southeastward at the rate of 6" feet per mile, while the fall of the canal 
is 3 feet to the mile, until just north of Deerfield, on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa 
F<5 Railroad. The canal runs northeasterly at an angle of 40 degrees from the river, 
and terminates near the north line of Finney County. 

William Harvey, Garden City, writes : 

Garden City is about the center of the irrigation district in Western Kansas. Farms 
vary in size from 40 to 160 acres. 

Burnett Smith writes from Garden City : 

Garden Cif"y, Finney County, Kansas, is on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe 
Railroad, 60 miles from the southern boundary of the State, and 60 miles from the 
Colorado line. The population is 3,000 (1885). Crops have been raised for about four 

County filliug up rapidly, but is yet very new. 



J. TV\ Gilbert, Eureka Irrigating Canal Company, Spearville, Kans., 
writes : 

Our headquarters are at Spearville. The farms in this vicinity generally comprise 
160 acres. 

(2) Original value of land per acre and present selling price ; slate whether the purchase 

of land carries water also ; if not, rent or price of latter per acre. 

Burnett Smith writes : 

Government land is $1.25 and $2.50 per acre. The purchase or use of water is op- 
tional with buyer of land. Water is $1.50 to $2 per acre for the season. 

J. W. Gilbert writes : 

The original value of land was $3 per acre (three years ago); it is now selliug at $8 
to $10. The purchase of land does not carry the use of water ; the price of water will 
be $1.50 per acre for each season. 

The superintendent and manager of the Kansas Irrigation and Water- 
Power Company writes : 

The original value of the land was from $2 to $4 per acre ; it is now worth from $3 
to $50 per acre. 

Edward Russell, Lawrence, Kans., secretary and manager of Great 
Eastern Irrigation Company, writes: 

Land along the canal was one-half railroad, one-half Government land. The latter 
is mainly occupied by settlers who have not perfected title. The railroad land was 
held at first at $2 per acre ; it now sells at $6 per acre. Price of water is separate and 
is $1 per inch for each season. 

(3) Products of land, amount, market and average value of crops; how long planted? 

Are fruits grown f 

The manager and superintendent of the Kansas Irrigation and Water- 
Power Company writes : 

The products are wheat, corn, oats, barley, and garden products in general. Small 
fruits are beginning to bear successfully. Grapes in general do exceedingly well. 
The alfalfa clover yields as high as 10 tons -per acre per annum. 

Edward Russell writes : 

Products thus far are, mainly, oats, alfalfa, vegetables, on which the prices have 
varied very much, higher generally than in Eastern Kansas, and less thanin Colorado 
and New Mexico. The first settlement which used irrigation was in 1880. All fruits 
adapted to Eastern Kansas or Iowa thus far do exceedingly well. 

All kinds of grain and vegetable crops are grown ; we grow sweet potatoes in per- 

Fruits are now grown. One man sold over $500 worth of strawberries last season. 

J. W. Gilbert says : 

General farming, small grain and corn, and very fine fruit. 

(4) Extent of irrigation ivorks and their character: source of supply, method of distribu- 

tion; cost and value of irrigation works : amount available at present aiid prospect- 
ively ; nature of ivories ; service per acre ; any general facts showing extentof works, 
land, areas, irrigable, or non-irrigable, occupied for cultivation, used for cattle, 
sheep, $-g. 

Edward Russel, writing of the Great Eastern Irrigation Company's 
works in Finney County, says : 

The main canal is 36 miles long ; main branches 35 miles long. The supply is from 
the Arkansas River. The canal and branches cost $30,000. Lands along canal are 
quite level, rich, and good for raising gram, grass, or fruit. The canal can supply 
about 30,000 acres with water, but would require some additional outlay so to do, 
Present demand is far less than 2.000 acres. 


The superintendent and manager of the Kansas Irrigation and Water- 
Power Company writes : 

There are two ditches, one 40 feet and the other 20 feet wide. The cost of water is 
about $1 per acre per annum. The longest ditch is about 18 miles The land 
is well adapted for irrigation, having a uniform slope, about 8 feet to the mile. 

Burnett Smith writes : 

There are 50,000 acres irrigated; 12,000 irrigable under ditches already constructed 
and projected. The supply is from Arkansas River. Ditches and laterals are oq 
surface. Considerable territory yet used for grazing purposes. 

A correspondent writes from Dodge City : 

Irrigation works commenced 8 miles west of Cimarron River. Main canal will ex- 
tend to Kinsley. 

The main canal will be 90 miles long, and the laterals 60 miles. The canal will ir- 
rigate 800,000 acres ; cost of construction will be $600,000. About one-half is now com- 

J. W. Gilbert writes : 

The canal is about 90 miles long/40 feet average width, 6 feet deep; it will irrigate 
300,000 acres. 

(5) Climatic conditions, temperature and rainfall ; results of observations, if any, as to the 
influence of irrigation on moisture of the earth or shy ; effects of irrigation on health, 
fertility of soil, cj-c. 

Burnett Smith writes: 

Dry air. Elevation 2,800 feet. Rains are becoming more timely and rainfall 
heavier. Irrigation and cultivation are undoubtedly helpful. Country none the less 
healthy, and the soil is very fertile. 

William Harvey writes from Garden City : 

Usually dry, but the rainfall has been much greater the last two years; health 
good, and soil rich. 

The superintendent and manager of the Kansas Irrigation and Water- 
Power Company writes: 

The climate is cold in winter and never extremely hot in summer. The country 
has an altitude of about 3,000 feet. The effect of irrigation ou moisture of the earth 
and rainfall is very marked. Watering the land cools the air and brings on rain. 
The fertility of the soil is increased ; the health of the people is good. 

Edward Russell writes : 

The only record of temperature, rainfall kept for any length of time which can 
guide our judgment as to Finney County, has been kept at Dodge City by the United 
States Signal Service, 1874. The system of irrigation is too slight and recent to show 
any effect. That the result of it is beneficial to the soil in increasing the crops was 
plainly shown the past year, 1884, which was the best ever known in Western Kansas 
for raising of a crop without irrigation. 

J. W. Gilbert writes: 

We shall turn the water in our caual for the first time about May 1, 1886. It is 
completed as for as Spearville, the first 60 miles. The balance will be completed 
this season. The cost of construction will be something over $500, 000. 

The superintendent and manager of the Kansas Irrigation and Water- 
Power Company adds the following remarks: 

The most important observation I have made is on the increase of moisture in the 
ground and the tendency to rain upon a few days' irrigating. When I first visited Fin- 
ney County, in 188*2, the ground was hard and dry, the grass short, and what little 
rainfall there was came in clashes and ran off without penetrating the soil. The fires 
frequently destroyed what little grass grew, and left the soil entirely unprotected from 


the baking sun. A fall of dew was rare. Now there is at least a more even distribu- 
tion of the rainfall throughout the year; the soil is saturated; water is frequently 
seen on the surface, and the streams have more water in them. No doubt the settle- 
ment of the country, breaking of the sod, preventing of fires &c, have something to 
do with the improvement in the climate, hut the settlement of the country is aided 
by irrigation. 

In Illinois drainage has produced a great effect in protecting the farmer from ex- 
cessive moisture. On the plains of the West the reverse operation should he prac- 
ticed ; the water should be stored and held hack in every practicable way. Lakes 
for storage and for stock and irrigating purposes, fish ponds, breaking the soil so that 
the rain is ahsorhed more readily, and the prevention of fires, will all tend to make 
the country more habitable. 

0. J. Jones, of Garden City, writes that — 

The Great Eastern Canal has ahout 60 miles of main and lateral ditches, and cost 

The Kansas Canal has 20 miles, and cost $8,000. The Garden City Canal has 15 
miles, and cost $6,000. The Western Canal has 16 miles, and cost $7,000. One cuhic 
foot will water from 150 to 200 acres, and by judicious use will serve about twice that 
area. Our canals are generally colorations, and sell the water at ahout $1 per acre 

C. P. Safford, of Garden City, Finney Connty, writes of Ms experi- 
ences with irrigation as follows : 

I purchased from the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe^ Railroad Company, April 17, 
1882, 200 acres in section 13, township 24, range 33 west, Finney County, Kansas, 
at a cost of $10 to $12.60 per acre. The $10 land was cash. The $12.60 on six years 
time. Commenced to farm in spring 1883, farming about 40 acres that season, of 
which 28 acres were in oats mostly on sod. Raised 1,400 bushels of oats (over weight) 
100 bushels of onions, 40 bushels of beets, and 35 bushels turnips. Ten acres of the 40 
was farmed by Re\ Mr. White, of Illinois, over seventy years of age, his crop being 
sweet potatoes 600 bushels, and onions 700 bushels, besides Irish potatoes and other 
vegetables. Paid $1 per acre for water, using it on vegetables only. Sold oats at 
home for 40 to 50 cents per bushel. Farmed in 1884 18 acres to winter wheat. The 
crop was pastured all winter and late in the spring with wild horses. Crop 450 
bushels, sold at 75 cents. Thirty-five acres of oats yielded 1,650 bushels, which sold 
at 45 to 55 cents per bushel. Ten acres of barley yielded 240 bushels which sold at 
60 to 75 cents per bushel. One acre of Irish potatoes (not a good stand) yielded 120 
bushels, which sold at $1 per bushel. One acre sweet potatoes yielded 125 bushels, 
which sold at $1.25 per bushel. Twelve acres of millet (not heavy) yielded 1 ton to 
the acre, which sold at $5. Paid $100 for water in the spring, but did not use it at all 
on small grain. In 1885 the farm was rented. The results for that year were as fol- 
lows:. Wheat crop from 38 acres, pastured as before, 700 bushels, which sold at home 
at 58 cents per bushel. Twenty acres of oats (light crop) yielded 700 bushels, which 
sold at 45 cents per bushel. Ten acres of barley yielded 250 bushels, which sold at 75 
cents per bushel. On a timber claim 6 miles west, I raised 25 acres of millet, getting 
a crop of 75 tons. It is selling now in market at $10 per ton. There was no irriga- 
tion this season. 

Water is owned by companies, and purchased as wanted. 

My land adjoining the addition to Garden City is selling at from $60 to $100 per 

Hon. Edward Russell, in letters to the Department, gives the follow- 
ing interesting and valuable data relating to enterprises with which he 
is associated. He says : 

The Great Eastern Irrigation Water-Power Company is located in Hamilton and 
Finney Counties, Kansas. Water is taken from the Arkansas River by canal. Corpo- 
ration was organized under the lavrs of Kansas. Capital stock is $200,000; amount 
invested is $50,000. Present value hard to tell, for as yet the receipts are much less 
than the annual expenses. The main canal is now 35 miles long, the laterals or sec- 
ondary ditches being 40 miles long. The Arkansas River supplies sufficient water 
from the middle of May up to the close of August. Prior to the middle of May, and 
before the snows melt and swell the river, the water supply is small, and again for a 
montb or six weeks about the close of summer. The area possible to serve is about 
34,000 acres, with existing canal. The area of irrigated land within the counties 
named (1885) is about 60,000 acres. The value of raw land is $6 per acre. The area 
that can be reclaimed is at least 400, 0U0 acres. The amount of service is placed by Mr. 


Russell at 1.44 cubic feet per second to each SO acres. The rental is $1.50 per acre. 
Service is rendered when wanted by the farmers during the season, and the water is 
drawn at will as yet by the farmers. The service is in Hooding - . As the demand in- 
creases, the service and volume of water will be more systematic. All regulations are 
made by the company, there being no laws in Kansas as yet governing water supply 
and its distribution. The whole system of irrigation is in its infancy in the State. 
The value of land prior to irrigation was merely nominal ; now it has settled at $8 to 
$10 an acre for irrigable land, unimproved. As to climate, no perceptible effect as yet 
has been seen. Too short a period has elapsed since the first canal was dug in 1880. 
Water flowed in our canal for the first full season last year (1885). 

Mr. Kussell writes, under date of Lawrence, September 29, 1884, as 
follows : 

First as to water supply of Western Kansas. Let us begin on the southwestern cor- 
ner of the State, and we iind the first stream of any size, and which at all approaches 
to permanence, to be the Cimarron River. This comes out of Colorado in two streams, 
neither of which is sure to have water in a dry year until a point is reached near 
where the two streams unite. After running for a few miles the water sinks till nearly 
70 miles eastof the west line of Kansas. From thence tb« stream always runs, though 
the water is brackish. reaching the Indian Territory it becomes at times ex- 
ceedingly salt, too rmtch so in low water and dry weather for cattle safely to drink it 
if heated. Much of the way along the bottom, which is quite narrow in most places, 
the land is too poor for any use. It is a sort of salt or alkali land. At no point will 
the stream answer as supplying water for irrigation in Kansas. 

There are many ponds noted on the maps by the surveyors, but in nearly every case 
the. pond is only what on the plains is known as a buffalo wallow. They hold water 
only in wet weather. Water is seldom found iu any of them after the 1st of August. 
This year has been an exception, and, as in the year 1877, there have been unusual 

There are also creeks noted as in the western part of Kansas, south of the Arkansas 
River, but none of them run or furnish any water except for a little time. They are 
not reliable for even stock water. 

The Arkansas Elver next demands attention. We rind west of Dodge City, at near 
the one hundredth degree of longtitude, that there are several irrigation canals. The 
one nearest to Dodge leaves the river on the north side at a station on the Atchison, 
Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, called Belfast. It is rather a switch than a station, 
and is by the railway 396 miles from Kansas City. This canal is now being dug, and 
it is hoped that it will be completed by spring. Its corporate name is the'Eureka, I 
think, and the canal is estimated to cost over $300,000. It is under the management 
of the Messrs. Gilbert, of Spearville. 

The question of supply from the Arkansas is one not easy to determine, inasmuch 
as the river does not rise till in the month of May. Prior to the rise which comes 
from the melting of mountain snows, it is very low, and sometimes even ceases to run 
as for east as Dodge City, and even as far west as Garden City. The season for crop- 
ping may thus be cut short ; but from the rise in the river for six to seven weeks the 
amount of water is sufficient to supply many more canals than now exist. There is 
one question not easy to answer — and it is not one of abundance of water but of engi- 
neering — that is, to ascertain the amount of land which can be irrigated. In my 
judgment it is not so great as is usually stated, because of the lay of the land, and 
from the many ravines or arroyas which intersect the line of the land at right 
angles to the river, and so make the canals too expensive for profitable construction. 
This objection, of course, will be more or less overcome as lands advance in value. 

North of the line of the Arkasas there are many streams on the maps, but none of 
them reach up into the mountains so as to draw water from the melting snows ; and 
hence they cannot be relied upon for irrigation. They are intermittent streams, good 
some years but of little or no value in others. 

For instance, the Arkansas runs at Lakin 900 feet wide and in usual volume, when 
the snows are melted, about 28 inches deep. It is at times deeper, and of course some 
parts of the river are deeper; but the average of the river will not exceed the 28 
inches. The Solomon River, which rises in "Thomas County, has a Avidth in the 
second county east thereof — Graham County — of 20 rods, or 330 feet, and its usual 
depth, aside from exceedingly high water is from 4 to 20 inches, or so it is reported to 
me. The reporter, who has lived there some years, says he has seen it dry. Of the 
Smoky Hill, my reporter, who has lived, there five years, says the bed of the river is 
from 500 to 600 feet wide, and in depth about 6 inches. It usually goes dry each year. 

There has been some theorizing as to the capacity of artesian wells to irrigate the 
plains; but any one who will consult good authorities will see quickly it is simply 

S. Mis. 15 10 


It takes about 30 inches of water to supply moisture sufficient to raise a crop, and on. 
the plains of Western Kansas you have usually less than 15 inches. At Dodge City, 
the average for the past nine years is less than 20i inches, while, for six years of the 
time it has averaged less than 15y inches ; some years less than 11 inches. 

As to climatic changes in Western Kansas, the observations have not been made long 
enough to be of much value. If the experience of Eastern Kansas is any criterion, it 
would seem that in a generation or two enough change may be established to enable 
the settler there to raise many things now deemed impossible ; but there is one factor 
in the case of Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado which did not exist in the case 
of Eastern Kansas, and which must not be overlooked, unless we are willing to blind 
ourselves to the real situation, and that is the fact that through heedlessness and 
from other reasons the timber and foliage upon the mountain tops of the Rocky 
Mountains and foot-hills thereof is being rapidly stripped off, so that in a very few 
years the mountain tops will be bare of timber and soon thereafter of the earth with 
which to reclothe the tops. This will inevitably result in a diminution of rainfall 
and snow-fall in the mountains, and thus work adversely to the rainfall on the plains 
of Eastern Colorado and Western Kansas. 

B. Mc Allaster, Land Commissioner (Kansas Division) of Union Pacific 
Kailroad, undei date of September 1, 1884, writes recommending Mr. 
Frank Jerome, of Russell, as a competent observer, and then says : 

In a general way, the period of observations in Western Kansas (from the ninety- 
eighth meridian west) has been too short to base any reliable theory on ; yet we all 
notice that the blue-stem grass (a native of the moister eastern third of the State) has 
taken strong hold in the central third, and is crowding out most effectually the buf- 
falo grass, which is the characteristic genus of the dry plains. The blue stem is now 
found as far west as the one hundredth meridian. The annual prairie fires are becom- 
ing more and more reduced in area, and have almost ceased in the central third al- 
ready. The effect seems to be beneficial ; new tall grasses, and especially young 
timber, are taking a srood, strong hold where the fires are kept out. This year (1884) 
the buds and young shoots of peach trees were all killed by the Dakota blizzards that 
swept over our State in March in the eastern third ; but we have had fine peaches 
in all the central third and as far west as Wa Keeney, Trego County, near the one 
hundredth meridian. 

Corn, sorghum, and millet have been raised in Gore County, about 101° west longi- 

All these facts seem to warrant the belief that the moisture of atmosphere and 
amount of rainfall are gradually increasing toward the western plains, but we are 
not prepared to assert this as a fact. It must take a century of accurate observations 
to prove or disprove such belief. 



Profs. Samuel Anghey and 0. D. Wilbur, of the University of Ne- 
braska, under date of February, 1880, in a communication to Governor 
Furnass, of the same State, presented their reasons for believing that 
the so-called arid regions of the trans-Missouri will not always be dry. 
Their paper was written at the time the public-land commission was 
inquiring into the condition of the areas west from the one hundredth, 
meridian. The gentlemen whose views are summarized are scientists 
of repute, authors and teachers of recognized capacity. Their oppor- 
tunities of direct observation so well supplement these qualifications 
that the testimony and views presented by them must be esteemed of 
a weighty character. The conclusion they arrive at as against the con- 
tinued aridity of the region indicated may be stated as follows : 

(1) The soil embraced within the area west of the one hundredth 
meridian " is chemically equal to any similar area of soil taken in any 
part of the American continent." The professors do not include either 
Arizona or New Mexico, yet both are equal to the other portions of the 
area indicated. 


(2) Water is tbe only element lacking to insure complete productive- 

(3) The homogeneous character of the soil is insured by the fact that 
it is the result of " the decomposition of primary rocks, old sea deposits, 
and glacial agencies, acting through long ages over great areas of both 
mountains and plains." 

(4) The practical question to be settled, then, is the supply of moist- 

Messrs. Anghey and Wilbur hold it to be proved beyond reasonable 
question that a the present rate of increase in rainfall will in a com- 
paratively short time fit this region for agriculture without the aid of 
irrigation." They argued at length in the paper mentioned, as also in 
other publications. 

(a) u That the actual rainfall from the ninety-eighth meridian west- 
ward, over a considerable area, is sufficient to produce successfully root 
crops, fruits, and the cereals." Nearly up to the Norfrh Platte the rain- 
fall averages 26 inches per annum, and beyond that for a long distance 
west it amounts to nearly 16 or 17 inches. It falls, too, in the early sum- 
mer, when most needed. 

(b) That the presence of nutritious grasses proves the richness of the 
soil. The buffalo grass as it disappears is everywhere followed by other 
species, far more useful, belonging to the same family of plants as the 
edible grains. The spontaneity and variety of the native flora on the 
great plains are also indicative of the richness and adaptability of the 

(c) Holding that the moisture and rainfall are gradually increasing 
from east to west, Messrs. Anghey and Wilbur declare — 

(1) That actual tests, taken in large number, show the practicability 
of " grass and grain growth in the major part of the lands of the United 
States domain excepting actual rocky areas." 

(2) It is also shown by " the western march of grass and grain growth n 
in Nebraska almost to the western limits of the State, 350 miles from 
the Missouri Eiver ; in Kansas clear up to the one hundredth meridian 
and (except as to grain on the uplands, or water-shed regions, and m 
some parts along the valleys of the Arkansas and Smoky Hill) a long 
distance beyond that line, and in Dakota up to the foot-hill ranges of 
the dorsal mountains. 

(3) That the actual increase of the rainfall is clearly demonstrated by 
observations taken over a period long enough to give consecutiveness 
to the deductions made. 

After citing various authorities, Messrs. Anghey and Wilbur sum up 
their conclusions in the following manner : 

Observation, experiment, and the highest scientific authority demonstrate that 
climates in the West are becoming moister and that rainfall is increasing steadily. 
This increase must extend steadily until the plains east of Denver and Laramie re- 
ceive sufficient rainfall to produce farm products. 

For these reasons we are compelled to say that any evidence of present dryness, 
where dryness exists, is evidence only for the present and should not be used to cover 
these areas with the undeserved reproach or curse of desert lands. 

By the term " these regions n Messrs. Anghey and Wilbur refer to the 
area usually designated as the " great plains," lying between the ninety- 
eighth west meridian, and the higher foot-hills of the frontal range of 
the Eocky Mountains, though they appear to have more especially in 
their minds the more limited but still great basin of the Republican 
River, embracing a large portion of Central and Northwestern Kansas 
and the area contiguous thereto in Nebraska. But the facts and obser- 


rations they presented in 1880 were applicable then, and are still more 
so now, to almost the entire area embraced within the more or less tree- 
less and arid portions of the United States. 


Hon. Eobert W. Furnass, ex-governor of Nebraska, writes: 

In reply to yours concerning the permanence of growth of trees in the far west and 
arid regions, and how much of the desert region of the Northwest and in California 
with the help of irrigation we can cover with trees, will say : 

I am aware that in advancing my views, impressions, and belief in answer to your 
inquiries I rind arrayed against me such eminent men and scientists as Professor 
Sargeant, Professor Newberry, and others, relating to characteristics of western plains 
and arid regions generally. While I have great respect for science, scientists, and 
scientific theories, I have greater for facts, founded on actual experiments. Colonel 
Fremont, Captain Miles, of the United States Army, and others who passed through 
our western pairies at an early day, reported officially, and their reports are on record, 
that all west of the Missouri River was barren desert, unproductive, rainless, and tree- 
less. The men who came here to stay, the actual settlers, demonstrated by experience 
directly the opposite, showing that the identical spot from which some of the reports 
referred to were made has no superior as to fertile, productive soil. The county of 
Buffalo, in Nebraska (220 miles west of the Missouri River), in which Fort Kearney, 
whence Captain Miles made his report in 1845, was then situated, has three times 
carried away the first premiums at Nebraska State fairs for best agricultural products 
of all kinds, a general collection. 

Twenty-eight years' experience, with close observation during that time in the region 
of country referred to in your inquiries, warrant the asserted belief that in nearly all 
the country indicated fruit tress can be successfully grftwn without irrigation. With 
irrigation for a fe>v years, until trees are well established, practically all the portions 
generally understood to be arid and treeless can be planted and perpetual forests 
secured/ There are conditions, however, to all this. I do not wish to be understood 
as saying that any and all varieties of timber are adapted to these lands and conditions. 
The proper varieties must be selected and used. Then, too, until trees are large enough 
to produce sufficient leaves and surroundings, such as to retain them on the ground 
as fertilizers, trees planted will need to be fed. Nature thus provides in forest re- 
gions, and man must follow the example if success is to be obtained. The virgin soil 
of these prairie and arid regions is wonderfully quick and lavish in response to most 
delicate demands for growth of all kinds, and consequently exhausts its properties 
rapidly. Hence the necessity of " keeping it up." 

Statistics in connection with Nebraska and Kansas commence with 
the date of the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska act, 1854. From that time 
up to and including the year 1882, a period of twenty-eight years, it is 
found from official statistics, with some reliable estimates to cover dates 
for which such statistics were not available, that there have been planted 
within the borders of what is now the State of Nebraska 244,356 acres 
of forest trees. This includes seedlings, seeds, and cuttings planted in 
permanent forests, groves, along highways and along streets in cities 
and villages. Since fires have been kept from the borders of streams 
and ravines, the spontaneous growth is estimated to be equal to half 
the area planted. Personal observation would warrant a larger esti- 

Of fruit trees planted in Nebraska from 1854 to 1882, inclusive, there 
were 12,083,112, of which 1,714,442 were planted in the year 1882. Grape- 
vines to the number of 2,906,754 have been planted, fully 30 per cent, 
of that number being planted in 1882. 

Mr. Furnass, writing of tree-planting in Nebraska for the year 1884, 
furnished the following figures, which, he says, "I take from official 

Number planted. 

Cottonwood 2,500,000 

Bos-elder 400,000 

Soft maple 800,000 



Number planted. 

Ash 250,000 

Elm 175,000 

Sycamore 85, 000 

Miscellaneous 225, 000 

Total 4,435,000 

To this add : 

Walnut seed planted bushels.. 1, 850 

Oak nuts do 250 

Catalpa seed pounds.. 125 

The State agricultural reports of Kansas up to 1883-'84 show the 
progress there in arboriculture. There have been planted since the 
first settlement in that State 139,995 acres of forest trees, distributed 
as follows : 


Walnut 9,512 

Maple (mostly soft) ..13,545 

Honey locust 1,916 

Cottonwood - 47,363 

Other varieties. - 67,659 

Planted 4 by 4, or 2,722 plants to the acre, the total is shown to be 
381,066,390 trees, or, 8 by 8, 681 plants to the acre, the total is 95,336,595 
trees. Average the totals and we have 238,201,993. Add for spontane- 
ous growth (estimated) 115,610,870 and the grand total is 353,812,863 

The number of fruit trees planted in that State during the same time, 
as shown by State record, is: 







Bearing. ^on-bearing. 

3, 028, 100 
97, 369 

5, 983, 140 
293, 474 
776, 498 

10, 178, 581 

590, 333 
164, 302 
089, 803 
339, 516 
756, 576 

8, 940, 530 

Grand total, 19,119,111. 

Of the forest trees it is claimed that at least one-half of the whole 
number of acres has been planted west of the ninety- eighth meridian, 
west longitude. 


L. O. Wooster, of the State Geological Survey of Wisconsin, writes 
in vol. 4, pp. 73-79, as follows : 

While studying the causes of an evident increase in rainfall upon limited areas over 
the plains of Colorado, irrigated for five or six years and planted in trees and small 
grains, it occurred to me that vegetation has contributed to this good work by restor- 
ing to the atmosphere water that is running below the surface. The roots of many 
trees penetrate the ground to a depth of 10 to 20 feet and more, in search of water, 
pushing downward until they find it. It is not necessarv for the plant to send its 
roots to the water-bearing layers lor water, for the soil is kept more or less moist 
through capillary attraction, by which the water is made to rise slowly to the surface, 
there to evaporate. The quantity of water thus restored to the atmosphere is said 
to be quite large, even from tracts barren of vegetation. Plants very much hasten 


this process, as they are able by roots to approach very near, if not to penetrate the 
waterbearing strata. Met or arrested by the roots, as the case may be, the water is 
drawn by osmose through root, stem, and brauch to The leaves, from whence a large 
proportion is evaporated to the atmosphere. Professor Gray says that a sunflower 
plant, a little over 3 feet high, with about 40 square feet of foliage, &c, has been found 
to exhale between one or two pints of water per day. A fair-sized forest tree possesses 
between 100,000 and 200,000 square fret of area in foliage. Assuming that the evap- 
oration from each square foot of its surface is two-thirds as rapid as from the same in 
the sunflower, over one thousand barrels of water would be poured into the atmos- 
phere by the tree during each season of growth. 


H. M. Thompson, of Lake Preston, Dakota, spoke of the Great Plains 
and tree-planting thereon at the Forestry Congress, held in Montreal, 
as follows: 

The Great Plains extend from the southern limits of the Staked Plains in Texas north- 
wardly about 20 degrees of latitude to the Saskatchewan River and Hudson Bay, and 
westward to the foot-hills of the Rocky Mountains, from an irregular east line, com- 
mencing in Texas, running through the eastern part of the Indian Territory, Eastern 
Kansas and Nebraska, Western Iowa, the Bigwoods of Minnesota and the Red River 
of the North, the average breadth from east to west being about 10 degrees of longi- 
tude and the total area comprising about 950,000 square miles. If all this possessed 
a propitious climate and all the soil was susceptible of cultivation, "the area would 
be sufficient to make 3,800.000 farms of 160 acres each, and could support a farming 
and pastoral population of 50,000,000. 


Mr. A. X. Cole, of Wellsville, Allegany County, New York, has for 
some years been engaged in a system of .uniform drainage, subterran- 
ean irrigation, and fertilization applicable to all mountainous or hilly 
sections, having a firm dry or hardpan subsoil ; and in a recently pub- 
lished book, "The New Agriculture, or the Waters Led Captive," he 
gives some very surprising results of his mode of irrigation by terracing 
and ditching. 

He stores his water below the frost line in trenches lined with stone 
taken from the cultivated lands. Mr. Cole repudiates the generally ac- 
cepted theory that winter irrigation in the Northern States is impracti- 
cable, and details his own experience to prove that at any and all points 
in the New England and Northwestern States and the Cauadas, a series 
of trenches constructed along inclines, from 3 to 5 feet deep, will hold 
the autumn rains so deeply down as to keep them during the winter at 
spring-water temperature. 

Mr. Cole, in detailing his success in the new system of irrigation and 
storing the falling waters and the melting snows, proves that the virtue 
of irrigation in reclaiming sterile lands, such as he experimented on, can- 
not be doubted or overestimated. His products of fruits and vegetables, 
marvelous in size and quantity, all of which he attributes to his mode 
of farming, may be regarded as the result of the new departure in agri- 
culture. Of course the circumscribed scale on which he produced these 
results must be considered in any attempts to introduce his system 
upon the almost unbounded tracts that are included in the farmlands 
of the West. 


Irrigation of laud is an art that existed for many centuries pre- 
vious to any authentic written history. The traditions of the Chinese 
people are very ancient, and irrigation is mentioned in their earliest his 
tory as extensively practiced. In Egypt, Syria, and the ancient kin 


doms of Eastern Asia agriculture depen (led almost wholly upon irrigation, 
and still so depends in those countries where the people have survived 
the political changes of thousands of years. The irrigation of gardens, 
vineyards, and fields is frequently mentioned in the Scriptures ; one of 
the earliest books speaks of it, and one of the prophets refers to " fur- 
rows of the plantation." The systems adopted in California, Texas, 
New Mexico, and Colorado are of ancient origin and are copied from 
ancient models, They are not the best, but they are cheap and easy of 
construction. The settlement of the drier regions of our territory adds 
another instance to those of past history. ThV actual history of irriga- 
tion in the United States begins with the construction of the Pacific 

The enormous sums expended by the British Government in India, in 
irrigating works, and the profit derived from them will serve to sustain 
the arguments put forth by Mr. Cole and others, that while Great Brit- 
ain is engaged in India not only in the construction of reservoirs for the 
storage of the waters and streams, but for gathering in the rains and 
dews for the purposes of irrigation, spending millions annually in such 
works, and in keeping them in repair, our own country, possessing vaster 
domains than any nation of the world, and of incomparable value, has 
only to enter upon her own possessions and, by trenching her mountain 
sides, beget reservoirs as enduring as the foundations of the earth. 

The argument for Government ownership and control of streams and 
other water sources available for irrigation has much to support it in 
the practice of foreign countries, as will be seen in the accounts of their 
laws in relation to waters presented in the next chapter. 


The late Hon. George P. Marsh, for many years United States min- 
ister to Italy, in an exhaustive article on u Irrigation, its Evils, the Rem- 
edies, and the Compensations," treats on all the phases of this important 
subject. In this article Mr. Marsh refers to the customs and laws gov- 
erning the use of water in every country of Europe. The methods of 
accumulating and distributing the water of precipitation, and of flooding 
springs and streams for agricultural purposes, are readily accessible, 
and in the practical employment of the system our engineers and the 
ingenuity of our people will, he says, no doubt overcome any special 
difficulties arising from the peculiar geographical and meteorological 
features of our territory. The social, legal, sanitary, and financial as- 
pect of the subject in its application to extensive tracts of cultivated 
land are not familiar to the American public. He says, cautions of a 
not altogether obvious nature are more needed than instruction on 
points of practical method, or of adaptability to particular branches of 
agriculture. He points out the evils and difficulties of the practice of 
irrigation, and suggests precautious against the occurrence of these evils 
and the means of palliating them where they-are to some extent inevi- 
table. In the introduction of new systems of industrial or rural occupa- 
tion in a scale large enough to affect the rights and interests of whole 
classes of the population, equal regard should be paid to the good of 
every class, and on all such occasions the moral, social, and sanitary 
consequences of great changes in the habits and employments of large 
bodies of the people is of more consequence than the merely financial 
results. In this as in most questions of political economy, is encoun- 
tered the great enigma of the right relation between capital and labor, 
and there are not many instances where these relations are more un- 
satisfactory than in the employment of irrigation on the great scale in 


which it is practiced in many parts of Europe. Mr. Marsh says the 
tendency of irrigation in the Old World as a regular agricultural method 
is to promote the accumulation of large tracts of land in the hands of 
single proprietors, and consequently to dispossess the smaller land-hold- 
ers. Where a district derives its supply of water for irrigation from a 
single stream or lake not practicably inexhaustible, the interests of 
production require that the husbandry of the entire district be admin- 
istered in a uniform or harmonious system, and consequently that the 
control of the source of water supply be vested in a single head ; for it 
is obvious that each land-holder cannot be allowed to draw off at his 
pleasure and appropriate to his own use the whole current or such parts 
of it as may suit his convenience. The cause, capacity, and channels of 
division and of final discharge must be determined by some common 
principle, and adapted to the branches of husbandry best suited to the 
soil and climate. The agricultural economy of each farmer must remain 
substantially fixed and invariable, and even so simple a thing as the 
rotation of crops would be almost impracticable because it would be 
impossible to change the whole system of supply. The canals of di- 
version and distribution once established the net- work must remain 
immutable, " as the arteries and veins of the human system." The 
measurement of flowing water and its diversion between different oc- 
cupants are matters of extreme complexity, and jealousies and dissen- 
sions often arise between neighboring claimants in regard to the as- 
certainment of the quantity rightfully belonging to each and the amount 
actually withdrawn by each from the common source of supply. The 
consequence of these interminable vexations is that the poorer or more 
peaceably disposed land-holder is obliged to sell his possessions to a 
richer proprietor, and the whole district gradually passes into the hands 
of a single holder, family, or corporation. In the large irrigated plain 
lands of Europe real estate is accumulated in vast tracts of single 
ownership, and farming is conducted on a scale hardly surpassed in 
England or even on the almost boundless regions of our own West. 
In illustration of this Mr. Marsh states that ten years ago a single pro- 
prietor exhibited at an agricultural fair at Modena one hundred yoke 
of oxen from his own estate. There are doubtless, he says, consider- 
able economical advantages in the system. The unity of administration 
tends to increase production as well as to diminish the cost, but the evils 
more than counterbalance this advantage. Pliny the elder complained 
eighteen hundred years ago that great farms had been the ruin of Italy. 
Next in importance to the moral and social aspects of the system comes 
the question of the effects of irrigation on the health of the population 
employing it in certain branches of agriculture where water is largely 
used. The fact is established that the miasmatic exhalations are highly 
deleterious. The rice grounds of Lombardy are almost as destructive to 
health as those of Georgia and other Southern States. All irrigation, 
Mr. Marsh says, except where the configuration of the surface and the 
character of the soil are such as to promote the rapid draining of the 
water, or where special precautions are provided against its influence, 
is prejudicial to health. The increased dampness of the atmosphere 
is injurious to the respiratory system in some localities, and in others the 
exhalations from the watered soil and moistened manure tend to de- 
velop malarious influences and aggravate, if not occasion, febrile dis. 
eases. Mr. Marsh says in a foot-note : 

There, is no doubt the insalubrity of Rome is greatly aggravated by the abundantly 
irrigated gardens within the walls of that city, and the increased prevalence of mala- 
rious fevers in the neighborhood of New York and other American cities is due to in- 
creased extent of market gardens, and consequently of irrigated lands in their vicin- 


Mr. Marsh notices the purely physical evils which he regards as in 
many cases inseparable from this system of husbandry, and says the 
first and most obvious effect of withdrawing water from its narrow nat- 
ural chanuels and distributing it over the surface of tbe earth is a great 
increase in the humidity of the soil watered, a like increase in the evap- 
oration from it, and a corresponding reduction of the atmospheric tem- 
perature, as in other cases of evaporation. The water imbibed by the 
earth is generally estimated at about one- seventh of .the quantity ap- 
plied. This may not be sufficient to affect the consistence of the soil to 
a serious degree, but of the remaining six-sevenths the portion not car- 
ried off by evaporation, employed to irrigate lands at a lower level, or 
discharged into running streams or lakes, frequently produces a very 
prejudicial effect on the soil of adjacent lands over which the water flows 
or into which it percolates. Thus, he says, the infiltration of the super- 
fluous water from the rice grounds of Lombardy sometimes renders the 
lower fields adjacent unfit for any other husbandry to a distance of miles 
from the land flowed for watering the rice. The division of brooks and 
rivers and the final discharge of the current by remote outlets tends to 
deprive the district originally watered by it of their proper supply, and 
while on the one side considerable tracts of land are sometimes drenched 
with superfluous moisture, on the other, water courses large enough to 
drive mills and other machinery may be laid dry and their fish de- 
stroyed, and even the subterranean conduits from their beds which fed 
the springs and wells at lower levels may cease to flow. 

Irrigation always compacts and hardens the soil, and frequently to a 
very inconvenient degree. This, of course, increases the labor both of 
plowing and the subsequent tillage with hoe or cultivator, and farmers 
are tempted to rely too much on the fertilizing power of irrigation, and 
consequently to use little manure, a liberal application of which renders 
land less liable to become hard and tenacious by watering. A general 
opinion prevails that water employed for irrigation dissolves some of 
the fertilizing ingredients of the soil, and carries them with it in its flow 
or percolation through the adjacent fields into which it escapes. This 
opinion was controverted by Liebig, who taught that none of the ma- 
terial constituents of vegetation w T ere thus abstracted by water, and that 
view has been confirmed by other observers. But later experiments 
appear to show that the doctrines of Liebig and his followers are not 
strictly true, for mineral and vegetable substances, which enter more or 
less into the focd of plants, have been detected in the field, drains, and 
other currents from cultivated soils. There is, however, no satisfactory 
evidence that land is impoverished by irrigation, though the consist- 
ence of the soil may be sometimes affected injuriously. The increase 
of the natural humidity of the soil provokes the growth of aquatic 
weeds, and in all freely irrigated lands the borders of the channels of 
distribution are fringed with water-plants, in spite of all efforts to de- 
stroy them. In many localities irrigation cannot be carried on upon a 
great scale without the construction of large reservoirs. The objections 
to these arise from the fact that it is almost impossible to make the re- 
taining dams or walls sufficiently secure to prevent the waters from 
ultimately bursting their barriers, and overwhelming the country below 
with ruinous desolation. Works of hydraulics are full of examples of 
such calamities. 

The quality of the grain roots and other vegetables cultivated by irri- 
gation is a point of importance, and Mr. Marsh s-iys he has not found 
the meal of Indian corn or other cereals produced by irrigation less 
sweet or less nutritious than that produced on un watered fields. There 


are, he says, economical obstacles to irrigation, as it is seldom practi- 
cable without considerable outlay. Bams, dikes, artesian boring-ma- 
chines, pnmping-inachines, reservoirs, aqueducts, and canals are some 
of them indispensable where irrigation is employed at all extensively. 
The ground must be prepared to permit either a flow over it or its 
gradual obsorption and infiltration, and a good deal of labor is required 
in the way of grading before irrigation can be practiced with advan- 
tage. On the Alps irrigation is practiced almost up to the limit of per- 
petual frost. The water of the melting snows at its low temperature 
is conducted immediately over the grass. There is danger, too, of enter- 
ing into the system without previous careful inquiry as to the sufficiency 
of supply, and this involves experiments varied and long continued to 
determine. There is another suggestion to make in estimating the eco- 
nomical value of irrigation — namely, that in some parts of our own 
country production is now over-abundant, and needs repression rather 
than enlargement. Mr. Marsh says: "From all this it will be obvious 
that considerable evils attend the practice of field irrigation, and they 
would be sensibly felt in its introduction in a country which stands in 
no special need of such a resource for increasing its agricultural pro- 
duction." The object of Mr. Marsh in pointing out these evils has 
been to inculcate the necessity of caution in attempting a revolution in 
our agricultural methods, but by no means to discourage careful study 
of the subject, or judicious experiment in appropriate localities. 

He points out the necessity of taking especial care that water shall 
not be allowed to stagnate and poison the air. Hilly and winding slopes 
admit of a simple and efficient mode of irrigation, or a substitute which 
is not available on level soil. This method has been practiced with suc- 
cess in many parts of the United States, where it is known by the name 
of "circling." It consists in horizontally terracing the slopes, or fur- 
rowing them with the hillside plow, and leaving the surface perma- 
nently in this condition. 

The duties of the general and local Governments of the United States 
in this branch of rural economy are by no means confined to the simple 
protection of nature's waters from private encroachment. Govern- 
ments ought to take steps for collecting and diffusing all knowledge 
on the subject, and by encouraging and aiding experiments and by 
special inquiry into the physical condition and capabilities, the wants 
and the means of all our territory. Much of the practical information 
needed may be gathered from European experience, and by the study 
of the methods employed in those exceptional parts of our territory 
where irrigation has been long practiced. 

Mr. Marsh, speaking of the stupendous net- work of canals lately con- 
structed by the British Government in India, says: 

There are serious objections to the assu mption of such burdens and respousibilities 
by republican government, but there are insuperable objections to any other system. 

The literature of European legislation, customary law, and judicial action on this 
subject is voluminous enough to form a library of itself, and of late years much has 
been done to lighten the labors of research on water questious, aud to facilitate the 
application of law by codification and completion of digests and compends by private 

Mr. Marsh says he is thoroughly convinced, after much observation 
and inquiry, that irrigation may be immensiey extended among us with 
great commercial advantage, and that by reasonable prudence, and, 
above all, by % sufficient exercise of moral courage by our rulers, nearly 
all the evils which ordinarily attend the practice may be avoided or at 
least greatly mitigated. 



Below is given a careful summary of the water and irrigation laws of 
the several States and Territories embraced within the dry area of the 
United States, and also those of ancient Rome, and of Italy, France, 
Spain, and Mexico. 


Irrigation districts may be formed under general laws, and by-laws 
may be adopted and trustees elected by a majority vote. 

The trustees may survey and locate the ditches and estimate the costs, 
and upon the presentation of their report to the board of supervisors 
of the county, tbe necessary assessments may be made. A list of as- 
sessments and of the land assessed and the names of the owners must 
be filed in the office of the county treasurer, and the assessments are 
thereafter a lien upon the land assessed. 

The trustees must keep accurate accounts of all expenditures and all 
contracts, which shall be at all times opeu for the inspection of persons 
interested. The. necessary property may be purchased and held. 

The trustees may acquire by condemnation the right to any running 
water not already used for domestic, irrigating, milling, or mining pur- 
poses. They may have the right of way, and may take materials for 
the construction, maintenance, and repair of ditches, i*rom lands outside 
as well as inside the district. Parties may, with the consent of the board 
of supervisors, undertake the drainage and irrigation of their own lands 
on their own responsibility without the adoption of by-laws or the election 
of trustees. By special act certain described territory in the counties 
of San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, and Fresno are made an irrigation 
district, called the West Side Irrigation District. The qualified elect- 
ors of this district elect five commissioners, an assessor, a tax collector, 
and a treasurer. 

The board of commissioners has general control of the irrigation in- 
terests of the district, makes necessary contracts, employs the neces- 
sary officers and workmen, fixes the price of water, makes by-laws and 
regulations, constructs the necessary works, and may issue bonds of the 
district not exceeding $2,000,000. 

The Modesto Irrigation District was formed by special act, of a part 
of the county of Stanislaus. The district may choose directors, issue 
bonds, make surveys, lay out routes, and have the right of way. The 
bonds are not to increase the rate of taxation, but the increased revenue 
•caused by the increase in the value of the land irrigated shall be ap- 
plied to the payment of the interest and principal of the bonds. The 
title to the property shall be in the district. Surplus water may be sold 
for any purpose. By act of March 29, 1878, the office of State engineer 
was created. It is the duty of this officer, among other things, to make 
surveys, investigate the problem of irrigation, divide the lands into their 
natural districts with reference to the different sources of supply and 
the courses of the beds of the streams, study the best means of irrigat- 
ing each district, and give his opinion and advice to such persons as 
may be interested in irrigation. 

By act of March, 1880, tbe boards of supervisors fix the rates at which 
water shall be sold, and any company charging higher rates forfeits its 
franchise to the "county where the excessive rates are charged. 

In Los Angeles County the matter is regulated practically by a super- 
intendent of irrigation, chosen for two years, and three water commis- 
sioners, chosen for one year at general elections. 


In San Bernardino County a time-keeper may be employed by any 
irrigation district to see that water U not unlawfully used. In case 
any person fails to pay his proper assessments, the time-keeper mav sell 
so much of his water time as is necessary to pay the amount due. By 
special acts boards of water commissioners have been created for each, 
of the counties of Tulare, Siskiyou, Merced, and for the city of Los An- 
geles. Their duties, which are defined by statute, are substantially the 
same as those of like officers in other counties mentioned. 


Any person not engaged in working ores who corrupts the waters of 
a stream so as to injure it for domestic or agricultural purposes is guilty 
of a misdemeanor and punishable by fine. 

Any person desiring to construct a ditch or flume shall have recorded 
in the office of the recorder of the county or counties through which 
it is to pass a statement, duly acknowledged, showing name of ditch and 
its location and a plot of the proposed route or position. Ditches have 
the right of way, on proper compensation having been paid, but they 
must uot interfere with prior vested rights. 


Whenever the public necessity requires it, the county court may or- 
ganize the county, or a part of it, into an irrigation district, and the land 
holders therein may use the water brought into the district according- 
to their respective needs, provided they pay and perform their propor- 
tion of the necessary expense and labor. They may, on due notice, elect 
trustees, a secretary, and a treasurer. 

The trustees shall locate the ditches and estimate all costs and report 
to the county court. If the report be approved by a two-thirds vote a 
tax shall be assessed and the ditch constructed. 

The trustees have general supervision of the construction, mainte- 
nance, and regulations of the ditches : they may hold such personal 
property as is necessary to the performance of their duties; may sue 
and be sued, and may have appraised and sell any unclaimed lands that 
are to be benefited, and apply the proceeds to the construction of the 

Lakes and'ponds may be used as reservoirs, provided they are not 
raised so as to injure settlers upon their banks. 

In case of inundation or other sudden emergency the trustees may 
take measures for protection. 

Property and money in the hands of trustees to be used on the ditches 
is exempt from taxation. 

Ditches have the right of way, a proper compensation having been 

Any person injuring a ditch or any of its appurtenances, is liable in 
damages and to a fine and imprisonment. 

The district is liable for damage caused by the breakage of a ditch* 

The rate of tax at any election subsequent to the first may be deter- 
mined by a majority vote, and the tax thus assessed shall be a lien upon 
the tax payer's interest in the ditch and a right to use the water. 

By act of February 20, 1880, the selectmen of several counties are 
made water commissioners, who have a kind of superior jurisdiction of 
the water rights in their respective counties. 


They determine claims relative to the use of the water, oversee, 
•either personally or by agents, its distribution, and determine ques- 
tions of right of way, &c. 

They also issue certificates showing the extent of water rights. 

A person first taking water from any source of supply, or having the 
open, peaceable, and continuous use of the water for seven years, has a 
primary right therein to the extent of the reasonable use thereof. 

Whenever persons having the primary right use the water for a 
part of the year only, the person appropriating it for the balance of the 
year acquires a secondary right. 

The person appropriating the surplus above the average of seven years 
also acquires a secondary right. 

Water rights may be measured in inches or by fractional parts of the 
whole supply. Water rights may pertain to the land or may be per- 
sonal property, as the owner may elect, and a change of place shall not 
affect the right to use the water ; but no change of place shall be made 
to the injury of another owner without just compensation. Neglect for 
seven years to use water, or keep in repair the means of conveying it, 
is regarded as an abandonment of the right. 

Water rights are exempt from taxation, except for the purpose of 
regulating the use of the rights, but the iecreased value of the land 
may be regarded in making the assessments. 

Surplus water must be returned to the natural channel, and any per- 
son wasting it, is liable to have his supply shut off, and to pay damages 
to any person injured. 

Any person using water lawfully appropriated to another, or divert- 
ing the flow of water lawfully distributed, or injuring any dam, ditch, 
&c, is guilty of a misdemeanor. 

Whenever the supply is not sufficient for all purposes, the use for 
domestic purposes and for irrigating purposes takes precedence in that 

Corporations may be formed under general laws for distributing water 
to their stockholders. 


All streams are public and available for irrigating purposes. 

All holders of arable land may construct ditches, and have the nec- 
essary right of way, paying therefor a just compensation. 

No obstruction of irrigation is permitted except for mining purposes. 

Foot-paths across fields are prohibited, and all animals must be in 
care of a shepherd, in order that no injury may be done to the ditches. 

All persons holding land which may be benefited by public ditches, 
shall furnish labor for the ditches in proportion to the amount of their 
land, whether they cultivate it or not; and failing to do so are subject 
to a fine. 

Land owners and tenants interested shall elect one or more overseers, 
who shall have general supervision of the construction and care of 
ditches, shall apportion the work to be done, and the amount of water 
to be allowed to each person, having regard to the kind of crops to be 

In case of scarcity, users of water take precedence according to the 
dates of their titles. 

For neglect of duty, overseers may be fined, and, for the second 
offense, removed from office. 


Injury to ditches, or unauthorized use of water, is punished by fine and 
any injured party may recover damages. 

All fines for violations of the irrigation laws are applied to the main- 
tenance of the ditches, bridges, &c. 

When a ditch is constructed across a public road, the owners must 
erect and maintain a substantial bridge, and, for failure to do so, are 
subject to a fine. 

Plants on the banks of ditches belong to the owners of the land. 


The Eevised Statutes of Montana, 1879, in the fifth division of general 
laws, Chapter XV, on corporations for industrial or productive purposes, 
Article I, contain provisions, the substance of which is as follows: 

Sec. 271. Whenever any three or four persons form a company for constructing a 
ditch for the purpose of conveying water to mines, mills, or lands, for the use of min- 
ing, milling, or irrigation of lands, they shall in their certificate specify as follows: 
The stream or streams from which the water is taken: the point or place on said 
stream at or near which the water is to be taken out ; the line of said ditch, as near 
as may he, and the use to which the water is intended to he applied. For other de- 
tails of certification see section 244. 

Sec. 272. Any ditch company shall have the right of way over the line named in 
the certificate, and the right to run the water of the stream or streams through their 
ditch: Provided, That the proposed line shall not interfere with any other ditch whose 
rights are prior ; the water of any stream shall not he diverted from its original chan- 
nel to the detriment of any miners or mill men or others along the line of the stream 
who have priority of right. 

Sec. 273. Any company constructing a ditch shall furnish water in the way and 
manner named in the certificate designated to he used, whether miners, mill men, or 
farmers, whenever they shall have water in their ditch unsold. They shall give the 
preference at all times to this class of persons, the rates for furnishing water to he 
fixed by county commissioners or the tribunal transacting county business as soon as 
the ditch is completed and prepared to furnish water. 

Sec. 274. Every ditch company organized shall keep the banks of their ditch in 
good condition, so that the water will not escape and injure any mining claim, road, 
ditch, or other property ; and whenever it is necessary to convey any ditch over, 
across, or above any lode or mining claim the company shall flame the ditch, if neces- 
sary, to keep the water out or from any claim, so far as it is necessary to protect the 
claim or property from the water of the ditch. 

Sec. 275. When any company shall organize to form a company to construct a flume, 
their certificate shall, in addition to details required by previous sections, specify as 
follows : The place of beginning, termini, and route, as near as may be, and the pur- 
pose for which the flume is intended ; and when organized, the company shall have 
the right of way over the line proposed for the flume, provided it does not conflict 
with the right of any former fluming, ditching, or other company. 


Sec. 279. Any company formed for the purpose of constructing any ditch or flume 
shall commence work within sixty days from the date of their certificate, and shall 
prosecute the work with due diligence until the same is completed ; the time of com- 
pletion shall not extend beyond three years from the time the work was commenced; 
and the company failing to commence work within sixty days of the date of certifi- 
cate, and failing to complete it within three years of commencement, shall forfeit all 
right to the route claimed, and it shall be subject to be claimed by any other com- 

Sec. 280. Every corporation formed has power, first, to have succession by its 
corporate name for the period limited in its certificate of charter ; second, to sue 
and be sued, complain and defend in any court of law or equity ; third, to make 
and use a common seal and alter the same at pleasure ; fourth, to hold, purchase, 
and convey such real and personal estate as the purposes of the corporation may re- 
quire ; fifth, to appoint such subordinate officers and agents as the business of the 
corporation shall require, and to allow them a suitable compensation; sixth, to make 
by-laws, not inconsistent with any existing law, for the management of its property, 
the regulation of its affairs, and for the transfer of stock : Provided, That no corpora- 
tion formed shall own or hold possession of more than six hundred and forty acres of 


Sec. 281. The powers enumerated in the preceding sections shall vest in any cor- 
poration that shall hereafter be created, although they may not be specified in the 
certificate ; but no corporation shall possess or exercise any corporate powers, except 
such as shall be necessary to the exercise of the powers so enumerated. 

Sec. 2e2. Willful or malicious damages, or interference with property of any kind 
belonging to any company organized, upon conviction before the county court where 
the offense is committed, shall be fined not exceeding five hundred dollars, or impris- 
oned not exceeding one year, or both, and the offender shall pay all damages the cor- 
poration may sustain, together with costs of suit. 

Sec. 285. Whenever any organized company shall not have acquired, by gift or pur- 
chase, the right of way "required for the construction or maintenance of any road, 
ditch, telegraph, or flume, or may be affected by the operations of the same, they may 
present a petition to the probate judge of the county describing the lands required, 
giving the name and residence of each owner, and praying for the appointment of ap- 
praisers. The judge having evidence that the owners have been notified ten days- 
previously by publication or notices in some public place in the county, shall appoint 
three impartial appraisers, who shall take an oath to perform their duties faithfully. 
Two of them shall review the premises, ascertain and certify the proper compensa- 
tion to be made, as well as all damages accruing to the owners, after making a just 
allowance for the real benefits or advantages which the owners may derive from the 
construction of the road, ditch, telegraph, or flume. They shall file a certificate of 
their ascertainment and assessment in the county clerk's office. The probate judge 
upon such certificate and proof that compensation has been paid to the parties en- 
titled to the same, or deposited to their credit, shall have a certified copy of the de- 
scription of the lands and payment or deposit of compensation recorded in the re- 
corder's office of the proper county. The corporation shall have the exclusive right 
of all such lands, during the continuance of the corporation, and may take possession 
of, hold, and use the same for the purpose of the, road, ditch, telegraph, or flume, 
and shall be discharged from all claims for any damage. If at any time after an act- 
ual ascertainment of compensation, the title acquired or the assessment should be 
deemed defective, the corporation shall proceed, and perfect the title by procuring 
the assessment of the proper compensation to be made to any person who has an 
interest in or lien upon the lands. The probate judge may authorize the corporation, 
if already in possession, to make payment in the manner hereinafter provided, if not 
in possession to take possession of and use the premises until the final conclusion of 
the proceedings, and may stay all actions against the corporation on account thereof: 
Provided, That the corporation shall pay a sufficient sum into court, or give approved 
security to pay the compensation. When possession shall be so authorized it shall be 
lawful for the owners to conduct the proceedings to a conclusion if the same shall be 
delayed by the company. 

The substance of Article I, Chapter XXXIII, on rights of persons and 
corporations is as follows : 

Sec. 731. Any person or persons, corporation or company, who may have or hold a 
title, or possessory right or title to any agricultural lands, as defined by the organic 
act, shall be entitled to the use and enjoyment of the waters of the streams or 
creeks for the purpose of irrigation, and making the land available for agricultural 
purposes to the full extent of the soil : Provided, That in all cases where, by virtue 
of prior appropriation, any person may have diverted all the water of any stream, or to 
such an extent that there shall not be an amount sufficient left for those having a sub- 
sequent right for such purpose of irrigation, and there shall at anytime be a surplus 
so diverted, over and above what is actually used for such purpose by prior appropria- 
tion, such person shall be required to turn and cause to flow back the surplus water, 
and upon failure to do so, within five days after demand being made upon him in 
writing by any person having a right to the use of the surplus water, the person di- 
verting the same shall be liable to the person aggrieved in the sum of twenty-five 
dollars for each and every day the water shall be withheld after the notice, to be re- 
covered by civic action by any person having a right to the use of the surplus water. 

Sec. 732. When any person or persons, corporation or company, owning or holding 
land shall have no available water facilities, and when it is necessary to raise the 
waters of the stream or creek to a sufficient height to irrigate the land, or whenever 
the lands are too far removed from the stream or creek to use the waters, the person 
or persons, corporation or company shall have the right of way through and ovor 
any tract or piece of land for the purpose of conducting and conveying the water by 
means of ditches, dikes, flumes, or canals. 

Sec. 733. The right to dig and. construct ditches, dikes, flumes, and canals over and 
across the lands of another shall only extend to so much digging, cutting, or excava- 
tions as may be necessary for the purposes required. 


Sec. 734. In all controversies respecting the rights to water the same shall be de- 
termined by the date of the appropriation as respectively made by the parties. 

Sec. 735." The waters of the streams or creeks may be made available to the full 
extent of the capacity for irrigating purposes without regard to deterioration in 
quality or diminution of quantity, so that the same does not materially affect or im- 
pair the rights of the prior appropriator ; but in no case shall the same be diverted 
or turned from the ditches or canals of the appropriator so as to render the same un- 

Sec. 736. Any person or persons, corporation or company, damaging or injuring 
the lands or possessions of another by reason of cutting or digging ditches or canals, 
or erecting flumes, shall be liable to the party so injured. 

Sec. 737. This article shall not be so construed as to impair, or in anyway or man- 
ner interfere with, the rights of parties to such use of the water of streams or creeks 
as may have been acquired before its passage. 

Sec. 738. This article shall not be so construed as to prevent or exclude the appro- 
priation of the waters of the streams or creeks for mining, manufacturing, or other 
beneficial purposes, and the right also to appropriate the same is hereby equally rec- 
ognized and declared. 

Sec. 739. Any person or persons, corporation or company, who may dig and construct 
ditches, dikes, flumes, or canals, over or across any public roads or highways, or who 
may use the waters of the same, shall be required to keep the same in good repair at 
such crossings or other places where the water may flow over or in any wise injure 
any roads or highways, either by bridging or otherwise. 

Sec. 740. Any person or persons offending against the preceding section on con- 
viction shall pay for every offense not less than £25, nor more than §100, with costs of 
suit in civil action ; one half the fine shall be paid for the benefit of the common 
schools of the county, the other half to the person or persons giving the information. 
The defendant or defendants may be confined in the county jail until the fine and 
the costs are paid. 

Sec. 741. In all controversies respecting the rights to water, whether for mining, 
manufacturing, agricultural, or other useful purposes, the rights of The parties shall 
be determined by the dates of appropriation respectively, with the modifications 
heretofore existing under the local laws, rules, or customs, and decisions of the 
Supreme Court. 

Article II deals with the regulations for the sale of water, and in 
substance is as follows : 

Sec. 742. Any person or persons, corporation or company, having the right to use, 
sell, or dispose of water, and engaged in using, selling, or disposing of the same, who 
shall have a surplus not used or sold ; or any x>erson or persons, corporation or com- 
pany having a surplus of water, and the right to sell and dispose of the same, shall, 
and they or it are hereby required, upon the payment or tender to the person or per- 
sons entitled thereto of an amount equal to the usual and customary rates per inch, to 
convey and deliver to the person or persons, company or corporation, such surplus of 
unsold water, or so much for which the payment or tender shall have been made, and 
shall continue so to convey and to deliver the same weekly, so long as the surplus of 
unused or unsold water shall exist and the payment or tender be made. 

Sec. 743. Any person or persons, corporation or company, shall, at their own cost 
and expense, construct or dig the necessary flumes or ditches to receive and convey 
the surplus water so desired by it or them, and shall, pay or tender to those having a 
right to the use, sale, or disposal thereof, an amount equal to the necessary costs and 
expense of tapping any gulch, stream, reservoir, ditch, flume, or aqueduct, and put- 
ting in gates, gauges, or other proper and necessary appliances, usual and customary 
in such cases, and until the same shall be so done the delivery of the surplus water- 
shall not be required. 

Sec. 744. Any person or persons, company or corporation, constructing the neces- 
sary ditches, aqueducts, or flumes, and making the rjayments or tenders, shall be 
entitled to the use of so much of the surplus water as the ditches, aqueducts, or 
flumes shall have the capacity to carry, and for which payment or tender shall have 
been made, with all the rights and privileges incidental thereto, so long as the unsold 
or surplus water exists and the payment or tender shall be or have been made, and 
may institute and maintain appropriate action, at law or in equity, for the enforce- 
ment of such right or recovery of damages arising from a failure to deliver, or wrong- 
ful diversion of the same. 

Sec. 745. Nothing in this article shall be so construed as to give the person or per- 
sons, corporation or company, acquiring the right to the use of water, as hereinbe- 
fore provided, the right to sell or dispose of the same after being so used by it or 
them, or prevent the original owner or proprietor from retaking, selling, and dispos- 
ing of the same in the usual and customarv manner after it is so used. 


Chapter XLV on rights of way for the development of mines, Artiele 
IV, in substance is as follows : 

Sec. 880. The proprietor, owner, or owners, of raining claims, whether patented 
tinder the laws of the United States, or held nnder the local laws and customs, shall 
have a right of way for ingress and egress, for the necessary purposes, over and across 
the lands or mining claims (patented or otherwise) of others, as hereinaltcr pro- 

Sec. 887. Whenever any mine or mining claim shall he so situated that it cannot 
he conveniently worked without a road thereto, or a ditch to convey the water there- 
to, or a ditch "or a cut to convey the water therefrom, or without a flume to carry 
water and tailiugs therefrom, or without a shaft or tunnel thereto, which road, ditch, 
cur, flume, shaft, or tunnel, shall necessarily pass over, under, through, or across any 
lands or mining claim owned or occupied by others, either under a patent from the 
United States or otherwise, then shall the first-mentioned owner or owners he entitled 
to the right of way for the road, ditch, cut, flume, shaft, or tuunel over, under, 
through, and across the other lands or mining claims. 

Sec. 888. Whenever the owner or owners of any mine or mining claim desire to work 
the same successfully, he or they shall have the right of way for the purposes hereto- 
fore mentioned, and if it shall not haveheen acquired hy agreement between all par- 
ties, it shall he lawful for him or them to present a petition to the judge of the dis- 
trict court of the county, praying that the right of way he awarded to him or them. 
The petition shall he verified and contain a description of the character and extent 
of the right sought, the mine or claim of the petitioner, and the claim or claims, and 
the lands to ho affected'by the right, with the names of the occupants or owners. It 
may, also, set forth any tender or offer hereinafter mentioned, and shall demand the 
relief sought. 

Sec. 889. Upon the receipt and filing of the petition with the clerk of the court, 
the judge shall direct a citation to issue under the seal of the court, to the owners, 
named in the petition, of the mining claims and lands to he affected hy the proceed 
iugs, requiring each of them to appear hefore the judge on a day therein named, which 
shall not he less than ten days from the service thereof, and show cause why the right 
of way should not he allowed. The citation shall he served on each of the parties in 
the manner prescribed hy law. 

Sec. 890. Upon the return day of the citation, or upon any day to which the hear- 
ing shall he adjourned, the judge shall hear the allegations and proofs of the respect- 
ive parties, and if he is satisfied that the claims of the petitioner can only he con- 
veniently worked hy means of the privilege \) rayed for, he shall make an order ad- 
judging and awarding the right of w r ay, and shall appoint three commissioners, 
disinterested parties, and residents of the county, to assess the damages resulting to 
the lands or claims affected hy the order. 

Sec. 891. The commissioners shall faithfully and impartially proceed to examine the 
premises and shall assess the damages and report the amount to the judge, and if the 
right of way shall affect the property of more than one person or company, the report 
shall contain an assessment of damages to each company or person. 

Sec. 892. For good cause shown, the judge may set aside the report of such com- 
missioners and appoint three others, whose duties shall he the same as above men- 

Sec. 893. Upon the payment of the sum assessed as damages, to the persons to whom 
it shall he awarded, or a tender thereof to them, then the person or persons petition- 
ing shall be entitled to the right of way, and may immediately proceed to occupy the 
same, and to erect such works and structures, and make such excavations as may bo 
necessary to the use and enjoyment of the right. 

Sec. 894. Appeals from the assessment of damages may b? made and prosecuted in 
the proper district court by any party interested, at any time within ten days after 
the filing of the report, and a written notice of the appeal shall be served upon the 
appellee. The appellant shall file with the clerk of the court a bond, with sureties to 
be approved by the clerk, in the amount of the assessment appealed from in favor of 
the appellee, conditioned that the appellant shall pay any costs that may be awarded 
to the appellee and abide by any judgment that may be rendered in the cause. 

Sec. 895. Appeals shall bring before the appellate court only the propriety of the 
amount of damages and may be tried by the court or before a jury. 

Sec. 896. The prosecution of any appeal shall not hinder, delay, or prevent the ap- 
pellee from exercising all the rights and privileges heretofore mentioned : Provided, 
That the appellee shall file with the clerk of the court in which the appeal is pending, 
a bond with sufficient sureties, to be approved by the clerk, in double the amount of 
the assessment appealed from, conditioned that the appellee shall pay to the appellant 
whatever amount he may recover in the action. 

Sec. 897. If the appellant recover $50 more damages than the commissioners shall 
have awarded, or the appellee shall offer to allow judgment against him to he taken. 

S. Mis. 15 11 


the appellee shall -pay the costs of appeal, otherwise the appellant shall pay such 

Sec. 898. The costs and expenses of proceedings, except as herein otherwise pro- 
vided, shall he paid hy the party making the application : Provided, however, That 
if the applicant shall, before the commencement of such proceedings, have tendered 
to the parties owning or occupying the lauds or mining claims, a sum equal to or 
more than the amount of damages recovered hy the defendant or defendants, then all 
of the costs and expenses shall he paid by the party or parties owning the lands or 
mining claims affected by the right of way and who appealed and resisted the claim of 
the applicants. 

The substance of Article I, section 10S1 (Chapter LIY, on roads and 
highways), is as follows: County roads running parallel shall not be 
nearer than one mile, and upon the presentation of a petition signed by 
at least five freeholders of any neighborhood praying for passage to 
the various water-courses for stock purposes, the commissioners may 
at their discretion establish such passage-way. This section shall also 
apply to the opening and establishment of neighborhood roads running 
to timber. 

(For other details of roads, see section 1064.) 

The general laws for 1883 contain an act to punish persons for unlaw- 
fully diverting water; in substance it is as follows: 

Section 1. Any person who shall divert from any water- course or ditch any water 
flowing therein, and hy such diversion shall deprive another of the nse of water to 
which he is entitled hy law, and who shall refuse immediately to relinquish the water 
so diverted, upon demand being made hy the person, or the agent of the person, to 
whom the water rightfully belongs, shall, on conviction, ho fined in any sum not to 
exceed $100 or imprisoned in the county jail not exceeding three mouths, or by both. 

Sec 2. If any person, byforce, threats, intimidation, orputtingin fear with arms, or 
otherwise, near or upon any water-course or ditch, shall prevent or seek to prevent 
any person from possessing or obtaining any water which he desires for some useful 
purpose, or by these means shall prevent any person lawfully entitled to the use thereof 
from diverting the water, when and where he may desire, the person so offending 
shall he deemed guilty of felony, and on conviction, be imprisoned in the territorial 
prison not less than one year, nor more than five years. 

The general laws of 1885 contain an act relative to water-rights, in 
substance as follows : 

Section 1. The right to the use of running water flowing in the rivers, streams, 
canons, and ravines may he acquired hy appropriation. 

Sec 2. The appropriation must be for some useful or beneficial purpose, and when 
the appropriator or his successor in interest abandons and ceases to use the water for 
such purposes the right ceases ; but questions of abandonment shall be questions of 
fact, and shall be determined as other questions of>fact. 

Sec 3. The person entitled to the use of water may change the place of diversion, 
if others are not thereby injured, and may extend the ditch, flume, pipe, or aqueduct, 
by which the diversion is made, to any place other than where the first use was made, 
and may use the water for other purposes than that for which it was originally ap- 

Sec 4. The water appropriated may he turned into the channel of another stream 
and mingled with its w r aters, and then [be] reclaimed ; but in reclaiming it water al- 
ready appropriated by another must not- he diminished in quantity or deteriorated in 

Sec 5. As between appropriators, the one first in time is first in right. 

Sec 6. Any person hereafter desiring to appropriate water must post a notice in 
writing in a conspicuous place at the point of intended diversion, stating first, the 
number of inches claimed, measured as hereinafter provided ; second, the purpose for 
^yhich it is claimed, and place of intended use ; third, the means of diversion, with 
size of flume, ditch, pipe, or aqueduct, in which he intends to divert it; fourth, the 
date of appropriation; fifth, the name of the appropriator. The appropriator shall 
file with the recorder of the county, within twenty days after date of appropriation, 
a notice, which, in addition to the facts required to he stated in the posted notice, 
shall contain the name of the stream from which the diversion is made, if it has a 
name, and if not, such a description of it as will identify it ; also an accurate descrip • 
tion of the point of diversion and reference to some natural object or permanent mon- 


The recorded notice shall be verified by the affidavit of the appropriator, or some 
one in his behalf, which must state that the matter and things contained in the no- 
tice are true. 

Sec. 7. Within forty days after posting the notice the appropriator must proceed 
to prosecute the excavation or construction of the work by which the water appro- 
priated is to be diverted, and must prosecute the same with reasonable diligence to 
completion. If the ditch or flume, when constructed, is inadequate to convey the 
amount of water claimed, the excess claimed above the capacity of the ditch or flume 
shall be subject to appropriation by any other person. 

Sec. 8. A failure to comply with the provisions of this act deprives the appropria- 
tor of the right to the use of water as against a subsequent claimant who complies 
therewith, but* by complying the right to, the use of the water shall relate back to 
the date of posting notice. 

Sec. 9. Persons who have heretofore acquired rights to the use of water shall, 
within six months after the publication of this act, file in the recorder's office of the 
county wherein the water-right is situated a declaration in writing, except notice be 
given of record setting forth the same facts required in the notice provided for in sec- 
tion 6 of this act. The declaration shall be verified as before required in cases of no- 
tice of appropriation of water : Provided, That a failure to comply with the require- 
ments of this section may in no wise work a forfeiture of such heretofore acquired 
rights, nor prevent any such claimant from establishing such rights in the courts. 

Sec. 10. The record provided for in the preceding sections, when duly made, shall 
be taken and received in all the courts as prima facie evidence of the statements 
therein contained. 

Sec. 11. In any suit hereafter commenced for the protection of rights acquired to 
water, the plaintiff may make any or all persons who have diverted water from the 
same stream or source parties to such action, and the court may in one decree settle the 
relative priorities and rights of the parties to such suit. When damages are claimed 
for the wrongful diversion of water, the same may be assessed and apportioned by the 
jury in their verdicts, and judgment may be entered for or against one or more of 
several defendants, and may determine the ultimate rights of parties between them- 

Sec. 12. In any action concerning joint water-right, or joint rights in water-ditches, 
unless partition of the same is asked by parties to the action, the court shall hear 
and determine such controversy as if the same were several as well as joint. 

Sec. 13. The recorder of each county must keep a well-bound book, in which he must 
record the notices and declarations provided for in this act, and he shall be entitled 
to have and receive the same fees as are now or hereafter may be allowed by law for 
recording instruments entitled to be recorded. 

Sec. 14. The measurement of water appropriated shall be conducted in the follow- 
ing manner : A box or flume shall be constructed, with a head-gate placed so as to 
leave an opening of 6 inches between the bottom of the box or flume and lower edge 
of the head-gate, with a slide to enter at one side of and of sufficient width to close 
the opening left by the head-gate, by means of which the dimensions of the opening 
are to be adjusted. The box or flume shall be placed level, and so arranged that the 
stream in passing through the aperture is not obstructed by backwater or an eddy 
below the gate ; but before entering the opening to be measured the stream shall be 
brought to an eddy, and shall stand 3 inches on> the head-gate and above the top of 
the opening. The number of square inches contained in the opening shall be the meas- 
ure of inches of water. 


The general laws of Idaho, 1881, in an act regulating rights to the 
use of water for mining, agricultural, manufacturing, and other purposes, 
contain provisions, the substance of which is as follows : 

Section 1. The right to the use of water flowing in a river, creek, canon, ravine, 
or other stream, may be acquired by appropriation, and as between appropriations 
priority in time shall secure the priority of right. 

Sec. 2. The appropriation must be in good faitli, for some useful and beneficial 
purpose, and when once perfected, may be converted or changed to any other bene- 
ficial use than that originally designated or for which it may have been employed. 

Sec. 3. The appropriator, or his or their successors in interest, may change the 
place of diversion, if the rights acquired by others are not interfered with, and no 
injury to others results therefrom, and may also extend any ditch, canal, flume, pipe, 
or other conduit to points or places beyond such, as may have accrued prior to such 


Sec. 4. A person, company or corporation, desiring to appropriate water must 
post a notice in writing in a conspicuous place, at the point of intended diversion, 

First, the quantity of water intended to be claimed and diverted, giving the num- 
ber of inches, measured under a 4-inch pressure, and accurately describing the point 
of its diversion. 

Second, the purpose for which the same is claimed or intended to be used, and the 
point or place of such intended use. 

Third, the means which are designed to be employed for diverting and conduct- 
ing the waters, and the size or dimensions of the ditch, canal, pipe, flume or other 
conduit. A copy of the notice, within the time allowed for a mining claim, must be 
furnished to the county officer for record. 

Sec. 5. Within sixty days after the notice is posted the claimant or his or their 
successors in interest, must commence the making, digging or constructing of the 
ditch, canal, flume, or other conduit, the work for the complete diversion and con- 
ducting of the water shall be prosecuted diligently and without unnecessary inter- 
ruption : Provided, That when the work cannot be carried on by reason Of unavoid- 
able natural causes, such as the state of the weather or action of the elements, this 
section shall not be applicable. 

Sec. 6. By " complete diversion" is meant the conducting of the water claimed to 
the place of intended use, or to such other place as may have been adopted, and an 
actual beneficial use made. 

Sec. 7. By compliance with the above conditions and requirements the appropria- 
tion is perfected, and the right to the use of the waters claimed, which the ditch, 
canal, flume or other conduit is capable of conducting, is declared to relate back to 
the time of the posting of notice of claim: Provided, That nothing contained in this 
section shall be so construed as to render any person or party liable to damages or to 
make compensation to any appropriator for any waters used prior to the time of a 
" complete diversion." 

Sec. 8. All ditches, canals, and other works heretofore made, constructed, or pro- 
vided, and by the means of which the waters of any stream have been diverted and 
applied to any beneficial use, shall be taken to have secured the right to the waters 
claimed to the extent of the quantity which the works are capable of conducting, 
and not exceeding the quantity claimed, without regard to or in compliance with the 
requirements of this act. 

Sec. 9. In case where any person, company, or corporation have heretofore made 
claim to divert the waters of any stream and the same has not been forfeited or aban- 
doned, and have not cut, excavated, made, or constructed the necessary ditch, canal, 
flume, or other conduit to carry such waters and apply the same to a beneficial use, 
such claimant must, within four months from and after the date of the approval of 
this act, commence work in pursuance with the requirements, and carry the same to 
completion, or at the expiration of the time or upon failure to prosecute the work in 
the manner required, the claim shall cease to be of any validity as to the foundation 
of a right to the waters of any stream. 

Sec. 10. All persons, companies, and corporations owning or claiming any lands 
situated on the banks or in the vicinity of any stream, shall be entitled to the use of 
the waters for the purpose of irrigating the land so lieid or claimed. 

Sec. 11. Whenever any such owner or claimant to land has not sufficient length of 
frontage on a stream to afford the requisite fall for a ditch, canal, or other conduit in 
his own premises, or where the land proposed to be irrigated is back from the banks 
of the stream and convenient facilities for watering the land cannot be had, the 
owner or claimant shall be entitled to the right of way through the lands of others for 
the purposes of irrigation : Provided, That in making, constructing, keeping up, and 
maintenance of the ditch, canal, or conduit through the lands of others, the person, 
company, or corporation and those succeeding to the interests of the same shall keep 
the ditch, canal, or other conduit in good repair, and shall also be liable to the own- 
ers or claimants of the lands crossed for all damages which may be occasioned by an 
overflow or result from any neglect or accident (unless the same be unavoidable). 

Sec. 12. In case of the refusal of the owners or claimants of any lauds through 
which such ditch, canal, or other works are proposed to be made or constructed, to 
allow a passage, the persons, company, or corporation desiring the right of way may 
present a petition to the county commissioners describing the lands to be crossed, the 
size of the ditch, canal, or works, the quantity of land required, giving the names of 
the owners or parties interested, and asking for appointment of three appraisers to 
ascertain the compensation to be made. When the petition is filed the county com- 
missioners shall give notice, either by newspaper publication or notices in three pub- 
lic places, one the county seat, that the appraisers will be appointed, unless good 
cause be shown by the parties adversely interested why the petition should be de- 
nied. The notice must be published or posted not less than thirty days prior to the 
hearing, and the expense defrayed by the petitioners. 


Sec. 13. The appraisers shall impartially hear the proofs and allegations offered by 
the respective parties, and, after viewing the lands and premises, shall ascertain and 
certify the compensation proper to be paid for the right of way to the parties owning 
or interested in the lands to be crossed and the damages, if any, after making allow- 
ance for real or direct benefits which the owner or party interested may desire from 
the making of a ditch, canal, or other works. They, or a majority of them, shall sub- 
scribe the certificate, and it shall be recorded in the county recorder's office, and upon 
the payment or tender of the compensation and damages, if any, or the deposit of 
such amount in the county treasury to the credit of the party or parties interested, 
the persons, company, or corporations shall have the right of way for the proposed 
ditch, canal, or other works. 

Sec. 14. All persons, companies, or corporations owning or having the possessory 
title or right to lands adjacent to any stream, shall have the right to place in the chan- 
nel of or upon the banks or margin of the same rams or other machines for the pur- 
pose of raising the water to a level above the banks of such heights as may be requisite 
for its flow to and upon the lands, and the right of way over and across the lands of 
others for conducting the waters may be acquired in the manner heretofore mentioned. 

Sec. 15. Where the owners of any spring or the appropriators of any stream may 
desire to conduct the waters to any lands for irrigation, or to any city or town for the 
use of the inhabitants, or to any factory, or to any distant place, with the intent to 
apply the same to a beneficial use, and where to accomplish the object it may be nec- 
essary to cross with ditches, flumes, or other conduit the lands owned and occupied by 
others than the owners or appropriators of the spring or stream, the right of way over 
and across the lands of others may be acquired in the manner prescribed in the pre- 
ceding sectiou. 

Sec. 16. The owners or constructors of ditches, canals, works, or other aqueducts, 
and their successors in interest, using and employing the same to convey the waters 
of any stream or spring, whether the ditches, canals, works, or aqueducts be upon the 
lands owned or claimed by them, or upon other lands, shall keep and maintain the 
same, and the embankments, flumes, or other conduit by which the waters are or may 
be conducted, in good repair and condition, so as not to damage or in any way injure 
the property or premises of others. 

Sec. 17. Nothing in this act shall be so construed as to interfere with or impair the 
rights to water appropriated and acquired prior to the passage of this act, but this 
reservation in behalf of existing rights shall not exempt such appropriators from lia- 
bility as heretofore provided. 

Sec. 18. In case the volume of water in any stream shall not be sufficient to sup- 
ply continually the wants for irrigating purposes of the owners or proprietors of land 
in any district or neighborhood in which customs exist for distributing the waters 
amongst such owners or proprietors, the water diverted shall, in such case, be held to 
be a common right in those accustomed to a participation in the use and enjoyment of 
the distribution, and such custom shall be upheld in all courts as conferring the com- 
mon right in the same : Provided, That this section shall not be construed to affect any 
prior vested right. 

Sec. 19. In case any person, company, or corporation shall have constructed a ditch 
for. the purpose of directing the water of any river, creek, cation, ravine, or spring, 
for the purpose of selling the water for irrigating purposes, the owners or cultivators 
of land along the line of, and covered by, the ditch or canal shall be entitled to, and 
have the right to, the use of water for the purpose of irrigating in the following 
order: First, all persons through whose land the ditch or canal runs shall be entitled 
to the use of the water in the order of their location ; second, after those through 
whose land the ditch or canal runs, those upon either side of the line of the ditch or 
canal shall be entitled to the use of the water ; those equally distant from the line 
shall be entitled to priority in the order of their location along the line : Provided al- 
ways, That the owners or cultivators of such lands shall pay the usual and customary 
rates for the use of the water, and whenever any ditch or canal has been constructed 
for the purpose of conveying water and selling the same for irrigating purposes it 
shall be unlawful for the owner or owners to change the line so as to prevent or inter- 
fere with the use of water by any one who, prior to the proposed change, had used 
water for irrigating purposes. And it is the duty of the owner or owners to keep the 
same in good repair, and to cause the water to flow through to the extent of its ca- 
pacity, provided so much may be needed during the entire time that water may be 
necessary for irrigating purposes: And provided further, That the river, creek, canon, 
ravine, or spring from which the water is taken furnishes an amount of water suffi- 
cient for such purpose, subject to the appropriation of the owner or owners of the 
ditch or canal. For a failure to cause the water to flow, the owner or owners or les- 
sees of any such ditch shall be personally liable to any one for any damage resulting 
from the failure ; and in addition to personal liability the damages shall be a lien 
upon the ditch or canal, which shall continue in force until the damages are paid. 
No person entitled to the use of water from any such ditch or canal shall, under any 


circumstances, use more water than good husbandry shall require for the crop or 
crops that he shall cultivate ; and any person using an excess of water shall be liable 
to the owner or owners for the value of the excess, and, in addition, shall be liable 
to all damages sustained by any other person who would bave been entitled to the 
use of the excess of water. 

The General Laws of 1881, in an act regulating the distribution of 
water for purposes of irrigation, also contain provisions the substance 
of which is as follows : 

Section 1. The inhabitants of any vicinity or neighborhood who use the waters 
of any ditch, stream, or spring for the purpose of irrigation, or have or claim a com- 
mon right to the same for such purposes, shall constitute a water district, and a ma- 
jority of the inhabitants having the common right may annually, on the fourth Mon- 
day < f ]March, elect a water-master, whose duties shall be to superintend the distri- 
bution of the waters among those having the common right. The water-master shall 
tile a bond, faithfully to perform his duties, in the sum of 8500, with two sufficient 
sureties, in the county recorder's office of the county wherein the district is situated, 
and he shall employ one or more deputies, as authorized by the inhabitants of his dis- 
trict and they shall receive such compensation as the inhabitants agree upon. 

Sec. 2. The owner or owners of any ditch for the distribution and sale of water 
for the purposes of irrigation shall employ a water-master for the distribution of the 
water of the ditch to the persons purchasing the same for sucb purposes, and no ac- 
connt or demand for the use of the water during any time the water-master is not so 
employed shall be valid or collectable. 

Sec." 3. The water-master and his deputies shall regulate the distribution of water 
among the several ditches of his district and among the several inhabitants entitled 
and accustomed to the use according to their respective rights and necessities, and 
when the quantity of water is not sufficient to afford a supply to those entitled to it, 
the water-master and his deputies shall regulate the quantity to be used by each per- 
son and the time at and during which each person may use the same : Provided) That 
nothing in this act shall be so construed as to interfere with the individual right of 
companies or corporations, or in any manner interfere with the rights of individuals, 
companies, or corporations, to the use and control of water which is or may be their 
private property. 

Sec. 4. Where a ditch is common property, or there is a common right to the use 
of the water of a ditch without payment, and any labor or materials are necessary 
for the repair or cleaning of the ditch, or any gate or flume on or belonging to it, the 
water-master may make a fair pro rata assessment of labor or materials against the 
inhabitants of the district claiming the use of such water according to the benefits 
received by each, and if any person so assessed shall neglect or refuse, for the period 
of ten days alter notice, to furnish his just proportion of labor or materials, he shall 
forfeit all rights to the use of the water from the ditch for the year in which he shall 
make such defaults. 

Sec. 5. The water-master shall see that there are provided the necessary and proper 
head-gates and dams, and that the water is turned and runs into the ditches of his 
district at the proper season of the year; and he may require all persons receiving 
water to construct proper gates at the points at which they take water from any 
ditch, dam, or reservoir; and he shall have such control of the location of ditches 
and gates as may be necessary to secure the most equitable distribution of the water 
among those entitled to its use. 

Sec. 6. Any person who shall, without the consent of the water-master of the dis- 
trict, divert any water from the ditch or channel where it was placed or caused or 
left to run by the water-master and his deputies, or who shall shut or open any ditch, 
gate, or dam witb intent so to divert any water, and thereby deprive any person of 
the use of the same during any part of the time he is entitled to it, or who shall cut 
any ditch or the banks thereof, or break or destroy any gate or flume, shall be fined 
not less than live nor moro than twenty dollars, and shall be liable to any person in- 
jured in three times the actual damage sustained. 


The irrigation laws of Wyoming, 1884, in chapter II, on rights to 
water of streams and construction of irrigating ditches, contain in sub- 
stance the following provisions : 

Section 1. All persons who claim, own, or hold a possessory right, or title to any 
land or parcel of land, when those claims are on the bank, margin, or in the neigh- 
borhood of any stream of water, creek, or river, shall be entitled to the use of the 


water for the purpose of irrigation, and making the claim available, to the full extent 
of the soil, for agricultural purposes. 

Sec. 2. When any person owning claims in such locality has not sufficient length 
of area exposed to the streams to obtain a sufficient fall of water to irrigate his laud, 
or his farm or land used for agricultural purposes is too far removed from the stream, 
and he has no water facilities on those lauds, he shall be entitled to a right of way 
through the farms or tracts of laud which lie above, and below him ou the stream, 
for the purposes hereinbefore stated: Provided, That in the construction, keeping up 
and using of any ditch through the land of another person the person or persons con- 
structing or using the ditch, or whose duty it shall be to keep the same in repair, 
shall be liable to the person owning or claiming the land for all damages. 

Sec. 3. Such right of way shall extend only to a ditch, dike, or cutting sufficient 
for the purposes required. 

Sec. 4. In case the volume of water in the stream, creek, or river shall not be suf- 
ficient to supply the continual wants of the entire country through which it passes, 
then the county commissioners shall appoint three commissioners, as hereinafter pro - 
vided, who shall apportion in a just and equitable proportion a certain amount of 
water upon certain and alternate weekly days to different localities, and with duo 
regard to the legal rights of all. 

Sec. 5. Upon the refusal of the owners of tracts of land or lands through which 
the ditch is proposed to run to allow its passage through their property, the person 
desiring to open such a ditch may present to the commissioners of the county wherein 
the lands are located a petition' describing the lands required, giving the name or 
names of the owner or other persons interested, and asking for the appointment of 
appraisers to ascertain the compensation to be. made to the owner or persons inter- 
ested. The commissioners shall give thirty days notice prior to the appointment of 
appraisers by newspaper publication, or posting three or more notices in three differ- 
ent places in the county. 

Sec. 6. The appraisers shall impartially hear the proofs and allegations of the 
parties, and any two of them, after reviewing the premises, shall ascertain and certify 
the proper compensation to be made for the lands taken or affected as well as the dam- 
ages, making allowances for such real benefits or advantages as the owner or par- 
ties interested may derive from the construction of the ditch or flume. They or a 
majority of them shall subscribe a certificate of their ascertainments and assessment, 
which shall be recorded in the county clerk's office, and upon payment of the com- 
pensation (if any) the said person or persons shall have the right of way to construct 
the ditch or flume. 

Sec. 7. All persons on the margin or bank or in the neighborhood or precinct of 
any stream shall have the right and power to place upon the bank of the stream a 
wheel or other machine, for the purpose of raising water to the level required for the 
purpose of irrigation, and the right of way shall not be refused by the owner of any 
tract of land upon which it is required, subject, of course, to the like regulations as 
required for ditches. 

Sec. 8. The owner or owners of any ditch for irrigation or other purposes shall 
carefully maintain the embankments, so that the waters of the ditch may not flood or 
damage the premises of others. 

Sec. 9. Nothing in this chapter shall be no construed as to impair the prior vested 
rights of any mill or ditch owner or other person to use the waters of any such wa- 

Sec. 10. The commissioners hereinbefore provided for shall not be appointed unti at 
least ten days previous notice shall have been given to the parties in interest, by post- 
ing notices of the time and place, when and where the appointments will be made, 
in at least three public places within the region watered by the stream, creek, or river. 

Sec. 11. Any ditch company constructing a ditch, or any individual having ditches 
for irrigation or for other purposes, whenever the same be taken across any public 
highway or public traveled road, shall put a good substantial bridge (not less than 
14 feet in width) over such water-courso where it crosses the road. 

Sec. 12, When any such ditch or water-course shall be constructed across any pub- 
lic traveled road and not bridged within three days thereafter, the county commis- 
sioners shall put a bridge over the ditch or water-course, of the dimensions specified, 
and call upon the owner or owners to pay the expense of construction, and if pay- 
ment be refused a civil action may be maintained for recovery of the same together 
with all costs. 

Sec. 13. Upon the refusal of the owner or owners of land or lands through which 
any person or persons are desirous of constructing any irrigation ditch or ditches, it 
shall be lawful for the parties interested to settle the matter by the appointment of 
a board of arbitration consisting of three men, as hereinafter provided. 

Sec. 14. The creation of the board of arbitration shall be as follows: The person 
or persons desiring the construction of such ditch or ditches, and the owner or owners 
of the land or lands through which the ditch or ditches are contemplated, shall each 



choose one disinterested resident property bolder of the county, and the two chosen 
shall designate a third, and after having the proofs and allegations of the parties con- 
cerned, two of the hoard of arbitration shall make such assessment of damages as they 
deem just and right, taking into consideration the benefit (if any) that may accrue 
to the owner or owners of the land or lands. 

Sec. 15. Should the verdict or assessment be unsatisfactory to either or both par- 
tics interested, an appeal may be taken in writing within ten days from the render- 
ing of the verdict to the commissioners of the county where the contestants reside, 
in which case the party taking the appeal shall give bonds for all costs. The case 
shall then stand as though no action had been taken in the matter, and the parties 
may proceed as if the matter had been taken before the county commissioners in the 
first iustance. 

Sec. 10. In case no appeal be taken by either of the parties interested, then the 
finding of the board of arbitration shall be binding and final: Provided, That the 
sum of money agreed upon by the board has been tendered or a deed for such right of 
way executed and delivered or tendered, by the party or parties over whose land the 
right of way is sought. 

Sec. 17. Willful or malicious damages or destruction of x>roperty of another by any 
person shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars or imprisonment 
in the county jail not exceeding six months or both. 

Sec. 18. At any time hereafter any three or more x)ersons who may desire to form 
a company for the purpose of carrying on any kind of manufacturing, mining, chem- 
ical, merchandising, or mechanical business, constructing wagon-roads, railroads, or 
telegraph-lines, digging ditches, building flumes, mining-tunnels, or carrying on any 
branch of business designed to aid in advancing the industrial or productive interests 
of the country, may make, sign and acknowledge before some officer competent to 
take acknowledgments of deeds, duplicate certificates in writing, in which shall be 
stated the corporate name of the company and the object for which it shall be formed, 
the amount of capital stock, the term of its existence, not to exceed fifty years, the 
number of shares, the number and names of the trustees, who shall manage the con- 
cerns the first year, and the name of the town and county in which the operations 
shall be carried on. They shall file one of the certificates in the county clerk's office 
of each county where the business is to be carried on, and one in the office of the 
secretary of the Territory. The county clerk shall record the certificate : Provided, 
That any three or more persons who desire to form a company the object of which 
shall be to aid the industrial or productive interests of the country, without any pur- 
pose of direct gains to itself, then and in such case the company shall not have a 
capital stock, and the certificate shall contain no statements appertaining to stock, 
but the company shall state and show in such certificate that it is not organized for 
direct gain, and has no capital stock ; and the members and officers of such company 
shall be fixed and provided for by the by-laws of the company. 

Sec. 19. All the companies heretofore organized may execute and file with the sec- 
retary and county clerk a supplemental certificate, and on the filing of such certifi- 
cate the company shall become and shall thereafter be a legal corporation. 

Sec. 20. Whenever any three or more persons form a company for the purpose of 
constructing a ditch or ditches for conveying water to any mines, miils, or lands to be 
used for mining, milling, or irrigation, they shall in their certificate, in addition to 
matters heretofore required, specify as follows: The streams or stream from which 
the water is to be taken ; the point or place at or near which the water is to he di- 
verted ; the line of the ditch or ditches, as near as may be, and the use to which the 
water is intended to be applied. 

Sec. 21. Any ditch company shall have the right of way over the lines named in 
the certificate, and shall also have the right to run the water of the stream or streams 
through their ditch or ditches : Provided, That the line proposed shall not interfere 
with any other ditch whose rights are prior, nor shall the water of any stream be di- 
verted from its original channel to the detriment of any miners, millmen,or others 
along the line of the stream who have a priority of right ; and there shall be at all 
times left sufficient water for the use of miners and agriculturists who may have a 
prior right. 

Sec. 22. Auy company constructing a ditch or ditches shall furnish water to the 
class of persons using water, in the way named in the certificate, whether miners, mill- 
men, or farmers, whenever they shall have water in their ditch or ditches unsold, and 
shall at all times give the preference to such class of persons, the rates at which 
water shall be furnished to be fixed by the county commissioner or the tribunal 
transacting county business, as soon as the ditch or ditches shall be completed and 
prepared to furnish water. 

Sec. 23. Every ditch company shall be required to keep the banks of their ditch or 
ditches in good condition, so that the water shall not be allowed to escape to the in- 
jury of any mining claim, road, ditch, or other property located and held prior to 
the location of such ditches ; and whenever it is necessary to carry any ditch over or 


across or above any lode or mining claim, the company shall, if necessary to keep the 
water of the ditch out or from any claim, flume the ditch so far as necessary to pro- 
tect such claims or property : Provided, That in all cases where the ditch has priority 
of right by location the owners of such claim or property shall be compelled to pro- 
tect themselves from any damage that might be created by said ditch, and the owner 
of such claim shall be liable for any damages resulting to'the ditch by reason of tbe 
works or operations performed on such claim or property. 

Sec. 24. The last four preceding sections shall apply to all ditch companies already 
formed and incorporated. 

Sec. 25. Wheu any company shall be organized for the purpose of constructing a 
Hume, their certificate, in addition to the matters heretofore required, shall specify 
as follows : The place of beginning, termini, and the route as near as may be, and 
purpose for which the flume is intended, and when organized the company shall have 
the right of way over the line proposed in the certificate : Provided, That it does not 
conflict with the right of any former fluming, ditching, or other company. 

Sec. 26. Whenever any road, railroad, ditch, telegraph, or fluming company, or- 
ganized or to be organized, shall not have acquired, by gift or purchase, the right of 
way for the construction and maintenance of the same, the corporation may present 
a petition to the district judge praying for the appointment of appraisers to ascertain 
the compensation to be made to the owner and x^ersons interested. The judge, having 
evidence that the notice of intended application has been given at least ten days pre- 
viously to the owners, either by newspaper jniblication or three or more notices posted 
in some public places in the county, shall appoint three disinterested appraisers. 
These appraisers shall hear the proof and allegations of the parties, and any two of 
them shall, after reviewing the premises, ascertain and certify the compensation to 
be made as well as the damages accruing to the parties interested, making deduction 
or allowance for such real benefits or advantages as the owners may derive from the 
construction of the road, railroad, ditch, telegraph, or flume. They shall file with 
the register of deeds of the county a certificate of their ascertainment and assessment. 
The judge, upon the certificate and proof that the compensation has been paid or de- 
posited to the credit of the parties entitled to it, shall make a rule describing the 
land, real estate, or claims, the ascertainment of compensation, and each payment or 
deposit, and a certified copy shall be recorded as if it were a deed of conveyance from 
the owner and parties interested to the corporation. Upon the entry of the rule the 
corporation shall, during its continuance, have the exclusive right, title, or X'osses- 
sion of all lands, real estate, or claims required to be taken, and shall be discharged 
from all claims for any damage. If at any time the title acquired be deemed defec- 
tive, the corporation may proceed to perfect it, making payment in the manner here- 
inafter provided. The judge may authorize the corporation to take possession (if not 
already in possession) of the premises, and to use the same during the pending and 
until the final conclusion of the proceedings, and may stay all actions on account 
thereof: Provided, That the corporation shall pay a sufficient sum into court, or give 
approved security to pay the compensation when ascertained, and in every case where 
possession shall be so authorized the owners shall conduct the proceedings to a con- 
clusion, if the same be delayed by the company. 

Sec. 27. Any company formed forthe purpose of constructing anyroad, ditch, flume, 
bridge, ferry, or telegraph-line shall within six months from the date of their certifi- 
cate, commence work, and shall prosecute it with diligence until completed, and the 
time of completion of any such road, bridge, ferry, or telegraph-line shall not be ex- 
tended beyond a period of two years, of any ditch five years, and of any flume four 
years, from the time the work was commenced. Any company failing to commence 
work within six months from the date of certificate, or failing to complete it within 
the time stated, shall forfeit its claim to that portion of the route upon which it has 
failed to do the specified work: Provided, That this section shall not apply to any 
ditch or flume for mining purposes constructed through any ground owned by the cor- 

Sec. 28. No dam or boom shall hereafter be constructed or permitted on any river 
of sufficient size for floating or drawing logs, timber, or lumber, and which may be 
used for that purpose, unless the dam or boom have a sluice-way lock or other fixture 
sufficient connected with it, so arranged as to permit logs, cross-ties, wood, telegraph- 
poles, timber, and lumber to pass through, around, or over the dam or boom, without 
unreasonable delay or hindrance. 

Sec. 29. Any boom or weir now in or over anv river that is so constructed as to 
prevent the free passage of logs or lumber is declared a nuisance, and shall be abated, 
unless a suitable sluice-way lock or passage be made within thirty days after written 
notice given by any person interested, and any person or persons so owning, holding 
or occupying said boom or weir shall be liable to pay $5 for every day the same 
shall remain in or over the river, after having had thirty days' notice to remove the 
nuisance (which sum may be recovered before any justice of the peace having juris- 
diction, and the amount shall be paid into the county treasury for the support of the 


common schools) and such person or persons shall furthermore be liable for any dam- 
ages sustained by individuals by reason of the nuisance. 

Sec. 30. Any person or persons, corporation or corporations, using water through 
any ditch or canal now constructed or which may be hereafter constructed, or using 
water through any natural ditch or slough from any creek or river which is of suffi- 
cient size for floating or driving logs, lumber, timber, railroad-ties, poles, rails, posts, 
or firewood, and which may be used for that purpose, shall erect and maintain in good 
order a head-gate across the ditch, canal or slough at or near the bank of the creek 
or river w^here such ditch, canal, or slough opeus out, sufficient to prevent logs, lum- 
ber, timber, railroad-ties, poles, rails, posts, or firewood from floating into any such 
ditch, canal, or slough: Provided, That the foregoing shall not apply to natural 
sloughs where the water runs through without being dammed or fiumed. 

Sec. 31. If any person or persons, corporation or corporations, shall fail or neglect 
to erect and maintain a sufficient head-gate as required, they shall have no recourse 
for damages sustained by them through such failure and negiect. 

Sec. 32". All creeks and rivers of sufficient size for floating or driving logs, timber 
or lumber, and which may be used for that purpose, are declared public highways, 
so far as to j>revent obstruction to the free passage of logs, cross4ies, wood, telegraph- 
poles, timber, or lumber down such streams. 


The treaty of peace between the United States and Mexico in 1848 
contains the following provisions in articles VIII and IX: 

Art. VIII. Mexicans now established in territories previously belonging to Mexico, 
and which remain for the future w r ithin the limits of the United States as defined by 
the present treaty, shall, be free to continue where they now reside, or to remove at 
any time to the Mexican Republic, retaining the property which they possess in the 
said territories, or disposing thereof and removing the proceeds wherever they please, 
without being subjected on this account, to any contribution, tax, or charge whatever. 

Those who shall prefer to remain in the said territories may either retain the title 
and rights of Mexican citizens, or acquire those of citizens of the United States; but 
they shall be under the obligations to make their election within one year from the 
date of the exchange of ratifications of this treaty, and those who shall remain in the 
said territories after the expiration of that year without having declared their in- 
tentions to retain the character of Mexicans shall be considered to have elected to 
become citizens of the United States. In the said territories property of every kind 
now belonging to Mexicans not established there shall be inviolably respected. The 
present owners, the heirs of these, and all Mexicans who may hereafter acquire said 
property by contract shall enjoy with respect to it guarantees equally ample as if 
the same belonged to citizens of the United States. 

Art. IX. Mexicans who in the territories aforesaid shall not preserve the character 
of citizens of the Mexican Republic conformably with what is stipulated in the pre- 
ceding article shall be incorporated into the union of the United States and be admit- 
ted at the proper time (to be judged of by the Congress of the United States) to the 
enjoyment of all the rights of citizens of the United States according to the princi- 
ples of the Constitution, and in the mean time shall be maintained and iirotected in 
the free enjoyment of their liberty and property, and secured in the free exercise of 
their religion, without restriction. 

The Gadsden treaty between the United States and Mexico in 1853 
contains the following provisions in Article V: 

All the provisions of the eighth and ninth, sixteenth and seventeenth articles of 
the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo shall apply to the territory ceded by the Mexican 
Republic in the first article of the present treaty, and to all the rights of persons and 
property, both civil and ecclesiastical, within the same, as fully and as effectually as 
if the said articles were heroin again recited and set forth. 

The Kearney code of laws, 184G, contains in section 1 the following 
provisions relative to water-courses, stock-marks, &c: 

The laws heretofore in force concerning water-courses, stock-marks and brands, 
norses, inclosures, commons, and arbitrations shall continue in force, except so much 
of said laws as require the ayuntamientos of the different villages to regulate these 
subjects. The dutities and powers of such ayuntamientos are transferred to and en- 
joined upon alcaldes and prefects of the several countries. 


The general statutes of New Mexico, 1884, contain in substance the 
following provisions in Title I, Chapters I and II, relative to acequias : 

Section 1. No inhabitant shall have the right to construct any building to the 
impediment of the irrigation of lands or fields, such as mills or any other property, 
that may obstruct the course of the water, as the irrigation of the fields should be 
paramount to all other uses of the water. 

Sec. 2. All by-paths or foot-paths are prohibited across the fields under penalty of 
fine or imprisonment. 

Sec 3. It being impracticable or absolutely impossible for the fields to be fenced 
in, all animals shall be kept under a shepherd, so that no injury may result to the 
fields, and in case any damage should result it shall be paid by the persons causing it. 

Sec. 4. In case a community of people desire to constiuct a ditch or acequia, and 
the constructors are the owners of all the land upon which the ditch or acequia is 
constructed, no one shall be bound to pay for the land, as all persons interested in the 
construction are to bo benefited by it. 

Sec. 5. The course of ditches or acequias already established shall not be disturbed. 

Sec. G. All rivers and streams of water heretofore known as public ditches or ace- 
quias are hereby established and declared to be public ditches or acequias. 

Sec. 7. From and after the publication of this act it shall be the duty of the several 
justices of the peace to call together in their respective precincts, whenever it may 
bo deemed convenient, all the owners of ditches or acequias, as well as the proprie- 
tors of lands irrigated by any public ditch or acequia, for the purpose of electing one 
or more overseers for the ditches or acequias for the same year. 

Sec. 8. All fines and forfeitures recovered for the use and benefit of any public ditch 
or acequia shall be applied by the overseer to the improvements, excavation and to 
bridges for the same, wherever it is crossed by any public road and bridges may bo 

sec. 9. In all cases of conviction under this act an appeal may be granted to the 
district court, which appeal shall be taken and conducted as all other appeals from 
the decisions of justices of the peace. 

Sec. 10. The regulations of ditches or acequias which have been worked, shall re- 
main as they were made, and have remained up to this day. 

Sec. 11. All plants of. any description growing on the banks of the ditches or ace- 
quias, shall belong to the owners of the land through which the ditches or acequias 

Sec. 12. If any person or persons intentionally make lagoons of water, whether on 
their own or other land, after the gathering of the crops, from which lagoons damage 
results to houses, common or private grounds or public roads, the person so offending 
shall, on conviction, be fined in any sum not less than five nor more than ten dollars. 

Sec. 13. Any person convicted of having committed injuries heretofore mentioned, 
shall pay to the party injured the damages assessed by three persons appointed for 
that purpose by the justice. 

Sec. 14. AH fines arising from the provisions of this act shall be applied to the re- 
pairs herein mentioned, and in case of not being so expended, they shall go into the 
treasury of the county wherein they were collected. 

Sec. 15. Allacequias, public or private, when completed, shall be the property of the 
persons who may have completed them, and no person or persons who may desire the 
use of the waters of them shall be allowed to do so without the consent of a majority 
of the owners, and upon payment of a share proportionate to the primary cost of the 
acequia or ditch to the amount of the land proposed to be irrigated, or the quantity 
of water proposed to be used : Provided, that the provisions of this section shall not 
apply to any acequias or ditches, public or private, that may pass from the limits of 
any one county to within the lines of any other. 

Sec. 16. Where any acequia or ditch, public or private, passes from within the 
limits of any one county to within the lines of any other, such acequia or ditch within 
the proper precincts of the respective counties, shall be under the exclusive control 
and management of the officers of such precincts and counties. 

Sec. 17. All the inhabitants shall have the right to construct either private or com- 
mon acequias, and to take the water for them from wherever they can, with the dis- 
tinct understanding to pay the owner through whose lands the acequias have to pass 
a just compensation for the land used. 

Sec. 18. If the owner or owners of lands where a new ditch for an acequia is to be 
made should ask an exorbitant price as a compensation, which shall not be satisfac- 
tory to the owner or owners of the acequia, the probate judge of the county shall 
appoint three honest, skillful men to make an appraisement and fix the compensa- 
tion, which once done shall be executed and without appeal. 

Sec. 19. When any public ditch or part thereof shall be destroyed by rain, or in any 
other manner, and it shall be absolutely impossible to reconstruct it where it ran be- 
fore it was destroyed, the major-domo of the ditch, with the consent, should they 


deem it necessary, of a majority of those having a common interest therein, may cut 
through the lands of any person or persons, hy first obtaining their consent, the com- 
munity interested in the ditch offering to pay a compensation to be agreed upon be- 
tween them and the owner or owners of the lands through which the ditch is to bo 

Sec. 20. If the owner or owners who shall be solicited to permit the opening of a 
new ditch through their lands should refuse or decline to accept the compensation 
offered, or should ask a compensation which the interested parties consider exorbi- 
tant, the major-domo shall lay the case before the justice of the peace of the precinct, 
and he shall appoint three men, experts, to establish a just compensation to be paid 
to the owner or owners through whose lands the ditch is to pass. 

Sec. 21. Whenever three experts shall be appointed as appraisers, they shall file in 
the office of the justice of the peace an oath impartially to discharge their duties, and 
shall proceed to the place where the land or lands are situated, and, before apprais- 
ing, shall ascertain whether or not the ditch is destroyed, and whether the labor or 
cost required to rebuild it would be so great as to render its reconstruction impossi- 
ble; and if they think the injury done may be repaired they will so report to the 
justice of the peace, and the land solicited for the purpose of opening the new ditch 
shall in no manner be touched; but if they should think a part of the ditch irrep- 
arably destroyed, they shall then examine the land or lands over which the new 
ditch "should be opened and the place where it should properly run. 

Sec. 22. Whenever any land or lands of any person or persons are appraised the 
appraisers shall file a report in the office of the justice of the peace who appointed 
them, giving the name of the person whose land was appraised and the sum to be 
paid him by the parties interested in the public ditch for which the right of way 
through the land is solicited; they shall also state, in the most distinct manner, the 
place and point where the opening for the ditch is to be made, and the direction which 
the ditch is to take through such land. 

Sec. 23. The parties interested shall possess the right of property in the land or 
lands assigned to them, and in case of legal resistance being made, they may in an 
action of forcible entry and detainer, as provided by law, compel the person or per- 
sons who interpose such resistance to desist therefrom ; but the parties interested 
shall first pay the appraised value of the land or lands : Provided, that the appraisers 
shall be impartial persons. 

Sec. 24. In each precinct where public necessity requires it, an election shall, on 
the third Monday of February, 1880, be held, as hereinafter provided, for directors of 
such of the acequias as irrigate different places. 

Sec. 25. The manner of conducting the election, and the number of overseers, shall 
be regulated by the justice of the peace, and the only persons entitled to vote at the 
elections, shall be the owners or renters of lands irrigated by the ditches or acequias.' 

Sec. 26. The overseers shall superintend the repairs and excavations on the ditches 
or acequias ; apportion the number of laborers furnished by the proprietors ; regu- 
late them according to the quantity of land to be irrigated by each one ; distribute 
and apportion the water in the proportion to which each one is entitled, according 
to the land cultivated by him, taking into consideration the nature of the seed, crops, 
and plants cultivated. 

Sec. 27. If any overseer of any public ditch or acequia shall willfully neglect or 
refuse to fulfill his duties, or conduct himself with impropriety or injustice, or take 
any bribe, in money, property, or otherwise, he shall be fined for each of such Offenses, 
in a sum not exceeding $590, to be recovered before any justice of the peace in the 
county, one-half the sum to be paid to the county, and the other half to the person 
bringing suit; and on a second conviction may be removed from his office, on petition 
of two-thirds of the proprietors of the land irrigated. 

Sec. 28. In all cases of removal, the justice of the peace shall order a new election 
to fill the vacancy occasioned by it. 

Sec. 29. The pay and other perquisites of the overseers shall be determined by 
a majority of the owners of the land irrigated by the ditch or acequia. 

Sec. 30. In acequias of extended irrigation, and where the lands which they 
irrigate are unequal, and some persons have at once several sections and parts in 
other sections, there shall be elected a chief major-domo, an assistant major-domo, 
and three acequia commissioners. The duties of the commissioners shall be to regu- 
late the number of laborers for the respective acequias for which they have been 
elected, that shall be furnished by each owner or tenant of irrigable lauds to be irri- 
gated. Should it be necessary, or should any three persons, owners or tenants re- 
quire it, the commissioners shall measure the lands in order to better apportion the 
number of laborers that each owner or tenant shall supply for the cleaning up of the 
acequias, and for any subsequent work which public necessity may demand during 
the year, the care of which is charged to the major-domos and assistant major-domos, 
the chief major-domo being always the superior officer ; and he, with his assistant, 


shall take care tbat the acequias shall be kept running in all their vigor from the time 
the water is first let in after cleaning until the crops no longer require it. 

Sec. 31. Whenever a list has been made by the acequia commissioners, as provided 
in the foregoing section, at any of the acequias, or by any major-domo and his assist- 
ant, where commissioners are not elected, another list shall be made and delivered to 
the justice of the peace, who shall record it for the. reference of all interested parties 
and in order that the work may be so ordered. 

Sec. 32. The chief majors-domo of all the acequias shall be the receivers and dis- 
burses of all the lines resulting from their respective acequias, and on the tenth of 
October in each year they shall give an account to the justices of the peace of their 
precincts of the fines received and the manner in which they have disbursed any part 
of them. 

Sec. 33. Should the commissioners be charged with the duty of measuring the lands, 
they shall be paid at the rate of two dollars per diem durirg the time they may be so 
occupied; which sum shall be paid from the respective funds belonging to the ace- 

Sec. 34. In the elections every owner or tenant of irrigable lauds, irrigated by any 
of the acequias, shall be entitled to vote and be voted for. The persons receiving 
the greatest number of votes shall be declared elected to their respective offices ; and 
shall receive a certificate of the same from their respective justices of the peace. • All 
such elections shall be held from and after the year eighteen hundred and eighty-one, 
on the first Monday of January in each year. 

Sec. 35. All persons interested in a common ditch or acequia, be they owners or les- 
sees, shall labor thereon in proportion to their land. 

Sec. 36. All owners of tillable lands shall labor on public ditches or acequias, 
whether they cultivate the land or not. 

Sec. 37. Each proprietor shall furnish the number of laborers required by the over- 
seer, at the time and place he may designate, and for the time he may deem necessary. 
Sec. 38. If a proprietor of land irrigated by any such ditch or acequia, shall neglect 
or refuse to furnish the number of laborers required by the overseer, after having been 
legally notified, he shall be fined for each offense in a sum not exceeding ten dollars 
for the benefit of the ditch or acequia, and the overseer shall be a competent witness 
to prove the offense. 

Sec. 39. If any person shall in any manner obstruct, interfere with, or disturb any 
of the ditches or acequias, or use the water therefrom without the consent of the over- 
seer, during the time of cultivation, he shall, pay for each offense a sum not exceeding 
ten dollars and all damages that may have accrued to the injured parties, and if the 
person or persons are unable to pay the fine and damages, they shall be sentenced to 
fifteen days' labor on public works. 

Sec. 40. All overseers of ditches shall see that the water currents run so that no 
injury may result to the proprietors of lands or tenements or to the public conven- 
ience ; and in case danger is anywhere threatened by the ditches, either from increase 
of water or by inundation, from which damage might result, the overseers are re- 
quired, if the damage might result to but one precinct, to report the danger to the 
justice of the peace, and if to two or more, to the probate judge of the county. 

Sec. 41. The probate judge, or the justice of the peace, shall appoint three suitable 
persons to make an examination, and if they shall sustain the report made by the over- 
seer, the probate judge or the justice of the peace shall order all persons owning real 
estate within the limits considered in danger to meet together, and under, direction 
of the overseer or some other person appointed, set about the prevention of damages, 
by the construction of breakwaters, barriers, or any other work deemed advisable as 
a means of averting the threatened injury: Provided, That the labor shall be per- 
formed in proportion to the property of each person interested in the same. 

Sec. 42. In all cases where it becomes necessary to take any of the steps mentioned, 
the person in charge shall direct the labor, notify the parties interested of the num- 
ber of laborers to be furnished and the part of the work assigned to such parties re- 
spectively, and informing them of the place where work shall commence and the day 
appointed for commencing it : Provided, That if after receiving the notice any person 
or persons shall fail to comply, the person in charge may report to the judge or jus- 
tice by whom he was appointed who shall cause the delinquent to appear, and fine 
him in any sum not less than five dollars. 

Sec. 43. Every person being a tiller of irrigated lands, who shall have commenced 
the performance of his part in the common labor on any public acequia, is and shall 
bo obligated to continue on that work until the completion of the cleansing of the 

Sec. 44. If any owners or lessees of lands, shall attempt to abandon their co-laborers 
without complying with sections forty-five and forty-six, they shall each pay a fine of 
not less than five dollars, nor more than ten dollars. 

Sec. 45. If any person having his fields on the upper portion of an acequia, ha\ r ing 
reached such fields, shall propose for any cause or causes, reason or pretext, to aban- 


don his co-laborers, or to withdraw his quota of laborers, he shall not be permitted 
so to do until the completion of the cleansing of the acequia : Provided, That touching 
the repairs and excavations to be made, the proper proportion of labor shall be fur- 
nished by the owners, and the majors-domo shall superintend the work as heretofore 
provided. If in any acequias already constructed there shall be included any dikes 
and dams which may have been destroyed, and the parties interested in such dikes 
and dams shall have agreed or contracted to work on the acequia, they shall remain 
and fulfill their engagements. 

Sec. 46. As in the excavation of such acequias, and in the first cleansing of some of 
them, the work sometimes continues for thirty days, more or less, the different majors- 
domo shall take into consideration the small amount of land tilled by some, and shall 
not compel these to furnish as much labor as is required of those having larger inter- 

Sec. 47. Every owner or tenant of irrigable lands, irrigated by any of the acequias, 
shall be compelled to hold at all times during the operations of any acequia to which 
they belong, the number of laborers to them assigned, at the disposal and order of 
the major-domo of such acequia, or his assistant, and it shall not be legal for any owner 
or tenant of irrigable lands, to absent himself for a time exceeding three days with- 
out informing the chief major-domo in regard to the persons remaining in his stead, 
and he shall present them, so that in his presence they may assume the responsibilities 
during the time of his absence. All the responsibilities of the absentees shall fall on 
che substitutes, and no other persons shall be admitted as substitutes. And if any 
owner or tenant of irrigable lands shall absent himself from the precinct during the 
time the acequias are in operation, without complying with the duty imposed upon 
him, ho shall besides paying the penalty fixed by the major-domo, be responsible for 
an amount equal to the value of the labor due at a just and common estimate per 
diem for the time he was absent and for the number of laborers that may have been 
assigned to him. Nor shall any proprietor, on account of having rented his lands re- 
serving a part for himself, be exempt from working on the acequia at anytime of the 

Sec. 48. This section relates to the penalties for failure to perform work due on an 
acequia, the disbursement of the sums collected as fines, &c. 

Sec. 49. All currents and sources of water, such as springs, rivers, ditches flowing 
from natural sources, shall be and they are by this act declared free, in order that 
all persons traveling shall have the right to take water therefrom for their own use 
and that of the animals under their charge; but the word traveler, shall uot in any 
manner extend to persons who travel with a large number of animals ; such persons 
shall not use the water of any spring belonging to any individual, without having 
first obtained the consent of the owner. And if any person in transit or traveling, 
at the time of using any of the water mentioned, shall cause any injury to the fields, 
to lands under crop, or to other property of any person, he shall pay to the injured 
party all damages that may have been done : Provided, further, That this act shall in 
no manner apply to wells : Provided, further, That this act shall not be applicable to 
ponds or reservoirs c f water that persons may construct for their own proper use and 
benefit, and no person under pretext of title to the sources, springs, rivers, or ditches, 
shall have the right to embarrass or hinder, or molest any transient person or traveler 
in or at the time of taking the water for his proper use and giving water to his 

Sec. 50. Hereafter, if any person or persons shall embarrass, hinder, and molest any 
person or persons at the time they may wish to take water for their animals, and 
shall claim or demand any compensation for the use of the same, the person or per- 
sons so offending shall be fined not less than twenty -five dollars, nor more than fifty 
dollars, and shall be liable to pay all the damages caused to the person hindered. 

Sec. 51. Every person who shall foul the water of any stream, or throw into any 
ditch, river, or spring of flowing water any dead or pestiferous animal or other filth, 
dirty vessels, or other imnurities that might injure the general health of the inhabit- 
ants of any town or settlement, shall be fined not less than one dollar nor more than 
ten dollars. 

Sec. 52. The major-domos of the ditches, and the commissioners of the same, shall 
prosecute all persons violating the provisions of this act. 

Sec. 53. All the salt lakes, with the salt which has accumulated or may accumulate 
on their shores, are and shall be free to the citizens: and each one shall have power 
to collect salt on any occasion free from molestation or disturbance. If any person 
or persons shall prevent, or attempt to prevent, any other person or persons from 
gathering salt, or going for or returning with it, or if any persons shall arm or em- 
body themselves for any or cither of the above purposes, orshall molest, disturb, hin- 
der, or annoy any person or persons while gathering salt, or going to or returning 
from any salt lake, or shall interfere with the salt gathered, or the animals, carts, or 
wagons, or any other conveyance used in its carriage, shall be guilty of felony, and 
shall be punished by confinement in the county jail or Territorial prison not less than 
two nor more than seven years, or be fined not less than one thousand dollars. 


The General Statutes of 1884, in Title XVIII, Chapter II, on munici- 
pal corporations, contain, in substance, the following provisions: 

Sec. 70. The cities and towns are hereby authorized to condemn and appropriate 
so much private property as shall be necessary for the construction and operation of 
water-works or gas-works in such manner as is or may be prescribed by law. 

Sec. 71. All cities and incorporated towns constructing water-works are authorized 
to assess, from time to time, in such manner as they shall deem equitable, upon each 
tenement or other place supplied with water, such water rents as may be agreed upon 
by the council or trustees, or upon each vacant lot in front of which the pipes com- 
monly called "street mains" are laid, but such vacant lots as do not take water from 
the "street mains" shall not bo assessed more than one-half as much as may be as- 
sessed against the same amount of frontage of lots occupied by a one-story building; 
and the city or town shall have the power to levy and collect a special tax on tax- 
able property in the city or town, which tax, with the water rent, shall be sufficient 
to pay the expenses of running, repairing, and operating the works; and if the light 
to build, maintain, and operate such works is granted to private individuals or in- 
corporated companies, and the cities or towns shall contract with the individuals or 
companies for a supply of water for any purpose, the city or town shall levy and col- 
lect a special tax, each year, sufficient to pay off the water rents so agreed to be paid 
to the individuals or company constructing the works: Provided, however, Thai the 
last-mentioned tax shall not exceed two mills on the dollar for any one year. 

Sec 72. They shall have power to construct public wells, cisterns, and reservoirs 
in the streets and other public and private places within the city or town, or beyond 
its limits, for the purpose of supplying the same with water; to provide proper 
pumps and conducting pipes or ditches to regulate the distribution of water for iiri- 
gation and other purposes, and to levy an equitable and just tax upon all consumers 
of water for the purposes of defraying the expenses of the improvements. 

Sec 73. They shall have the right and privilege of taking water in sufficient quan- 
tity from any stream, gulch, or spring: Provieled, That if the taking of the water in 
such quantity shall interfere with or impair the prior vested right of any person or 
persons or corporation residing upon such creek, gulch, or stream, or doing any mill 
ing or manufacturing business thereon, they shall obtain the consent of such person 
or person or corporation, or acquire the right of domain by condemnation, and make 
full compensation for all damages occasioned. 

Sec 81. This section confers on cities and towns owning water- works the power to 
levy annually by ordinance a frontage tax on all lots fronting on water-mains within 
their limits, and to collect the taxes so levied. 

# * - * * *■ # 

Sec 1716. Any incorporated town or city shall have power to purchase or lease any 
canal or ditch already constructed, or which may hereafter be constructed, and to ac 
quire all the rights, privileges, and franchises of any person or persons or corporation 
owning the same, or having any interest or right therein, and to hold and operate 
such canal or ditch in the same manner as the persons or corporation from whom the 
same may be purchased or leased might otherwise do : Provided, That the purchase 
or lease shall be made for the purpose of supplying, by the ditch or canal, water for 
the use of the people of the city or town ; and provided, further, that a majority of 
the qualified electors of the town or city, who shall vote at any regular election of 
officers, shall vote in favor of the purchase. 

Sec 1717. Any town or city making such purchase or lease shall assume all the 
obligations and other duties which devolve upon the owner or owners of the ditch or 
canal of whom the same may be purchased or leased, and shall have power to repair, 
improve, or enlarge the same, or any flume, dam, or gate connected therewith, and 
for such objects may levy and collect taxes. The management of the ditch or canal 
shall be under the control of the board of trustees, or council of the city or town. 


Persons occupying lands in the neighborhood of streams are entitled 
to use the water thereof for irrigating purposes, and hence have the 
right of way to a point of the stream high enough to raise the water to 
the proper level. 

In case of insufficiency of supply, three commissioners, appointed by 
the county judge, shall apportion the water to different sections on 
alternate clays of the week, 


Ditches have the right of way, but two ditches may not be cut through 
the same laud when oue can be made to carry the necessary amount of* 

The shortest route must be taken, and the owner must permit a ditch 
to be enlarged when necessary for the accommodation of other persons, 
upon payment of a reasonabie^coinpensation. 

If the channel of a stream changes, the head of the ditch may be 
changed accordingly. Any person constructing (or enlarging) a ditch 
must have recorded in the office of the county clerk a full description 
of the ditch, its capacity, and date of construction or enlargement, and 
no priority of right attaches until such a statement is filed. 

Persons who have used the natural overflow from any stream have 
in case the supply is diminished from any cause the same priority of 
right to dig a ditch as if the ditch had been constructed when they first 
occupied the land irrigated. 

Tieservoirs for storing any unappropriated water may be maintained, 
provided that no embankments more than 10 feet high shall be erected 
without the approval of the county commissioners. The owners of such 
reservoirs are liable for all damage from breakage or leakage. 

Owners of ditches have the right to erect any machinery necessary to 
raise the water to the proper level. 

They shall maintain such embankments that the property of others 
shall not be damaged, and shall return the surplus water, through a 
tail-ditch, with as little waste as possible. 

Vested right of mill-owners shall not be impaired. 

Whenever a ditch crosses a public road the owner shall erect a sub- 
stantial bridge, and maintain it thereafter. If not built within three 
days the county supervisors must do it, and collect the cost from the 
party who should have built it. 

Head gates must be kept strong enough to control the water, and the 
owner failing to keep them so is liable for all damages. 

Water rates are fixed and all matters pertaining thereto determined 
by the county commissioners. The lands of the State are divided by 
law into different districts, and the governor appoints water commis- 
sioners for the several districts, who have general control and regula- 
tion of the water. 

Any person willfully damaging a ditch or reservoir with intent to in- 
jure any person, or willfully opening or closing a water gate without 
authority, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and subject to fine and impris- 

Justices of the peace have jurisdiction of such offenses, with the right 
of appeal. 

Ditches where water is not sold for the purpose of deriving a revenue 
are exempt from taxation. 

There are very elaborate rules with regard to location, priority of 
rights, and proceedings in court incases of contests. 


Commissioners' courts regulate irrigation, and establish all needful 
rules in relation to constructing and keeping in repair ditches, roads, 
and bridges. They may license any number of owners of arable lands 
to construct dams, ditches, fences, &c. 

Ditches have the right of way. The commissioners may discontinue 
ditches and dams when the public health requires it. 



Irrigation companies may be incorporated under general laws, and 
are declared to be works of internal improvement, and, as such, towns 
may vote gratuities to tliem to the extent of 10 per cent, of the as- 
sessed value of such towns, and by a two-thirds vote to the extent of 
15 per cent., and may issue bonds for the same purpose to the amount of 
10 per cent, of the assessed value. 


Irrigation companies have the right of way through auy lands or lots, 
and, with the consent of the municipal authorities, through any street, 
alley, or public ground of any city of the second or third class, and may- 
use as much water as is necessary for the purpose for which they were 
organized, but no injury shall result to milling or other improvements 
already constructed. Any such company may sell or lease any portion 
of its water, transmit power by shafting, &c, borrow money necessary 
for completing and operating its works, issue bonds therefor, and 
mortgage the company property as security, enter upon any property 
for the purpose of maldng surveys, hold voluntary grants made in aid 
of the construction and maintenance of the works, construct a canal 
not more than 50 feet wide, and furnish water at such rates as its by- 
laws may prescribe. 

Any person or company furnishing water to irrigate any land shall 
have alien for payment upon the crops grown thereon. 

Any person willfully injuring any irrigating canal, the right of way 
having been secured, is guilty of a misdemeanor and may be punished 
by fine or imprisonment. 


The following law forms chapter 107 of the acts of the Forty-fourth 
Congress, second session : 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in 
Congress assembled, That it shall be lawful for any citizen of the United States, or any per- 
son of requisite age who may be entitled to become a citizen and who has filed his declara- 
tion to become such, and u\hu payment of twenty-live cents per acre, to file a declara- 
tion under oath with the register and receiver of the land district in which any desert 
land is situated, that he intends to reclaim a tract of desert land not exceeding one 
section, by conducting water upon the same, within the period of three years there- 
after: Provided, however, That the right to the use of water by the person so conduct- 
ing the same, on or to any tract of desert land of six hundred and forty acres shall 
depend upon bona fide prior appropriation ; and such right shall not exceed the 
amount of water actually appropriated, and necessarily used for the purpose of irriga- 
tion and reclamation ; and ail surplus water over and above such actual appropria- 
tion and use, together with the water of all lakes, rivers, and other sources of water 
supply upon the public lands, and not navigable, shall remain and be held free for the 
appropriation and use of the public for irrigation, mining and manufacturing pur- 
poses subject to existing rights. Said declaration shall describe particularly said 
section of land if surveyed, and if unsurveyd, shall describe the same as nearly as pos- 
sible without a survey. At any time within the period of three years after filing said 
declaration, upon making satisfactory proof to the register and receiver of the recla 
mation of said tract of land in the manner aforesaid, and upon the payment to Iho 
receiver of the additional sum of one dollar per acre for the tract of land not exceed- 
ing six hundred and forty acres to any one person, a patent for the same shall be 
issued to him : Provided, That no person shall be permitted to enter more than one 
tract of land, and not to exceed six hundred and forty acres, which shall be in com- 
pact form. 

Sec. 2. That all lands, exclusive of timber lands and mineral lands, which will not, 
without irrigation, produce some agricultural crop, shall be deemed desert lauds, 

S. Mis. 15- — -12 


within the meaning of this act, which fact shall bo ascertained by proof of two or 
more creditable witnesses under oath, whose affidavits shall be hied in the land office 
in which said tract of land may be situated. 

Sec. »5. This act shall ouly apply to and take effect in the States of California, Ore- 
gon, and Nevada, and the Territories of Washington, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyo- 
ming, Arizona, New Mexico, and Dakota, and the determination of what may be con- 
sidered desert land shalL bo subject to the decision and regulation of the Commissioner 
of the General Land Office. 


The following pages present a careful review of the jurisprudence and 
public polity of ancient Rome, and of several modern states, with regard 
to the subject-matters of the report. For a considerable portion of 
the data the Department is indebted to the works prepared by the State 
engineer of California, Mr. William II. Hall. 

Koine, it may be said, once ruled all the countries of Southern Eu- 
rope, Northern Africa, and Western Asia, where irrigation had its birth 
and its greatest development in ancient times. * Like air, water was 
regarded as a necessity to human life, of which every one might use so 
much as was requisite for personal requirements, but which was not ca- 
pable of appropriation to private ownership farther than in this suffi- 
cient quantity. Streams, rivers, ponds, &c, which were not in private 
ownership, were regarded as things which belonged to the people as a 
nation. The roads and rivers were specially counted as public things 
by the Eomans. The codes authorized the use of the rivers as ship- 
ways, or for hshing, but the ownership itself was vested in the state. 
They were not the property of the ruling sovereign, but of the sovereign 
power of the people collectively, each one of whom could use them as 
his own, but might not injure, neither segregate any portion or constit- 
uent part of them for his own. And this right was extended to all, 
whether Roman citizens or not, who were at peace with Rome, 

Public rivers are defined to be such as were perennial or ever flow- 
ing, but if located through private lands were not the property of the 
public unless navigable or capable of being made so by improvement, or 
from some other cause of public importance. A river was distinguished 
from other streams by its greater volume or more considerable local 

The bank of a river commenced at the limit of the spread of the 
waters at high tide, but when lands were not inundated, land below 
that line was property in public or private ownership. In the case of 
navigable rivers, and all streams which were public property, the beds 
belonged to the State. Should the waters leave the channel and take 
another, the river was considered to have moved, and the old b.ed be- 
came the property of those whose lands were taken for the new channel, 
while lands taken for this new channel became part of the public prop- 
erty — the river. In the case of non-navigable rivers and streams not 
regarded as public, situated on private property, the beds belonged to 
i he riparian proprietors. While the beds were covered with water the 
rights of the proprietors were suspended, but revived when the waters 
receded. The banks of the public river might belong to the riparian 
proprietor to the extent that he had the right to take the fruits, cut 
the bushes, and fell the trees which grew thereon, but not so as to preju- 
dice the use of the river or its banks by the public. 

* Irrigation, of course, existed in some of these countries long before the Roman Em- 
pire was founded, and Egypt, India, and China also were the scenes of irrigation 
practice at a much earlier period. 


The public had aright to the use of the banks of navigable rivers, so 
that a qualified ownership of the soil of such banks was all that could 
be acquired by private persons. The owner of lands which were 
bounded by a ditch or wall following near the bank, or by a public road 
on the bank of a public stream, was not a riparian proprietor; to be 
such, his lands had to be bounded by the stream itself. Eoman law 
made a marked distinction between rivers and other streams and the 
waters thereof. A river-bed and the water was each regarded as a pub- 
lic thing, the property of the state, necessarily excluded from private 
ownership, control, barter, or sale; the use of both was to be enjoyed 
by all. 

The water of the river was the property of the people in common, and 
each, if the enjoyment of the public property would not be impaired, 
might divert a portion of the water from its natural channel for other 
purposes than those of his own domestic necessities. 

The state was guardian of the common property, the water, and no 
person could use more than sufficient for his individual necessities and 
those of his family and cattle without a special permit, hi the case of 
water sources and water courses which were susceptible of. private 
ownership, the right to use their waters for purposes other than the 
supply of the immediate animal necessities pertained primarily to the 

Springs and brooks being situated on private lands constituted parts 
of such property, but the water itself while running in its natural chan- 
nel was the property of all the people. The banks and channels of pub 
lie rivers were specially guarded from injury; the construction of works 
or the placing of obstructions, by the effect of which the current migbt 
be made more or less rapid, was forbidden. The construction of works 
upon the bank or in the channel of a public river, whether navigable or 
not, whereby either the high or low water flow would be affected, was 
also forbidden, and works which might have an effect such as described, 
erected without authority, were removed or abolished at the expense of 
the constructor. 

It was declared lawful, however, for riparian proprietors, or those who 
lived near the bank of the public river, to erect works for the protection 
of a bank, provided that navigation was in no way impeded thereby, 
and that the river or the other bank was not inj ured. If damage resulted 
from any such work an official examination was made, and the works 
were removed or ordered changed, and security for ten years was ex 
acted from their owner or constructor. There was a provision concern- 
ing the protection of river banks, whereby it was lawful for riparian 
proprietors to construct works for the repair or protection of the bank 
adjacent to their property. 

If damage was threatened by such works to the lands of another, a 
writ of inquiry was ordered, and security was exacted for ten years 
against the results of such possible damage. 

The diversion of water, whether of floods or low-water flow, from 
public rivers reservoirs, or tanks, without the sanction of a special 
privilege in each case, was prohibited. 

The water privileges were of two kinds : first, those granted to in- 
dividuals, of water for use on individual lands ; second, those affecting 
water for public use. When a joint right to divert was issued to several 
persons, the division of the water was left to those holding the right. 
The use to which water was to be put was not always stipulated in 
grants, provided that it was to be used in good faith and not wasted. 
The user of water was liable for damages " by reason of anything done, 


dug', sown, delved, or built, whereby the river was corrupted," It was 
declared that water privileges should be " exercised iu such a manner 
as not to damage other persons having similar rights." 

Immemorial possession and use of running water by a private indi- 
vidual, as for the operation of a mill or in irrigation, gave prescriptive 
rights to the continued enjoyment of such use. 

No possessor of water, though having held it from time immemorial, 
had the right to use it wastefully to the prejudice of others. 

Springs on private lands were the property of the land-owner, on the 
principle that to such proprietor belonged all above and all below the 
land and all it produced. The right to use spring water might be ac- 
quired by others by agreement or prescription. 

Spring waters flowing off, joining with other waters, and forming 
brooks on other lands, became common property, but their use was dedi- 
cated to the owners of the lands along their course, so that such waters 
for purposes of diversion belonged to these riparian proprietors. 

Water rising out of the ground on a private estate, as being a part of 
the spring, was the property of the owner of the land $ but when any 
portion of such water had escaped from the tract where it came to the 
surface, it became a common property of all the people. But so long 
as it remained in channels on private estates only the owners of the 
banks of its channels could divert it from its course and use it, except 
this right should have been acquired as a servitude. 

But even these bank proprietors could not divert such waters if in so 
doing other proprietors were injured. 

Water drawn from its source or diverted or drawn from its course 
into an artificial and private channel, or when stored in a reservoir or 
tank, itself in private ownership, became private property. 

The user might do with it as he chose, providing his use was in good 
faith— not wasteful. The rights to draw waters from a private spring 
or stream by others than its owners, and to conduct waters across lands 
owned by others, ranked as servitudes. A predial servitude under 
.Roman law was a definite right of enjoyment in some particular respect 
of one person's property by the owner of other adjoining or neighboring 
property. Such a servitude could be held only as an appurtenance to 
land owned, being called predial because it could not exist without an 

The right of passage across the lands of another and the right of con- 
ducting water through such lands appear to have been recognized as 
indisputable privileges from the earliest times of the Eoman jurispru- 

The right of way to construct a canal or other conduit through the 
property of another, and to lead the waters through it, was one of the 
chief rural servitudes. The right to take water through the property 
of another in a ditch or other conduit could be acquired by prescrip- 
tion use for a long period of years, or by agreement, or, in the case of. 
public works, title to the land necessary could be acquired by expro- 
priation and payment therefor. When acquired as a title, of course 
the right was complete. When as a servitude, the right was accorded 
for a certain purpose only. A right to draw and use water from another's 
spring or rivulet might be imposed by agreement or prescription as a 
servitude thereon. 


41 Iii Northern Italy the waters of all streams, whether navigable or 
non-navigable, appertain to the royal or public domain." The old estab- 
lished claim of the cities, communes, and associations of proprietors and 


of noble individuals in Lombard y to the supplies of water which they 
had for long periods of time actually utilized, having been recognized, 
the Government asserted aud maintained its ownership to all natural 
streams, whether navigable or not. 

Diversions of water under the old claims were subjected to Govern- 
ment regulations, but when the Government had come into control of 
the streams, so many claims had grown up that the proprietorship of the 
State was almost a barren one. 

In Piedmont the right of property in all running water was reserved 
to the State. This reservation applied not merely to the large class of 
rivers, but also to the streams and torrents, the water of which could 
only be used under specific grants from the Government. After all 
Italy had been brought under one Government there was promulgated 
in 1865 the code of Victor Emanuel, of which Article 427 is as follows : 

Tbo national roads, the shore of the sea, the harbors, hays, coasts, rivers, and tor- 
rents, the gates, the walls, the ditches, the bastions of forts and fortifications form a 
part of the public domain. 

This provision of the code of 1865 is the law now in force in Italy, and 
under it all running waters, except those of very small streams, are 
claimed as property of the Government, representing the people as a 
nation ; and they are administered very much as arc the waters of the 
navigable streams of France. 

Navigability itself was a ruling consideration in France, while a volume 
of water for irrigation was the point of importance which made the stream 
one of public utility in Northern Italy. As a matter of fact, in Northern 
Italy every stream of perennial volume, other than very small stream- 
lets, is regarded as a river; and every stream of intermittent flow from 
the rainfall or melting of snows, except the smallest, is regarded as a 

The principle that ownership of the land carries with it all beneath 
its surface and all it produces has prevailed from the times of the earliest 
recorded laws in all the north of Italy. Waters rising out of the soil 
have always been regarded as the absolute property of the owner of the 
soil so long as he retained them within the bounds of his estate and 
did not permit his title to suffer abridgment by allowing some other 
proprietor to acquire a prescriptive right to the use of the waters. The 
springs always remain the property of the owner of the soil, but the 
right to use their waters may be wholly alienated and held by the owner 
of some other property. The principle as to ownership of a spring is 
the same in all Italy as it was for Piedmont and other parts of the Sar- 
dinian Kingdom. 

As the law now stands in all Italy, the owner of one or both banks 
of a little stream may use its waters in irrigating his riparian lands, but 
he must restore the drainage and residue of it to the ordinary channel; 
while he who is not a riparian proprietor cannot take such waters at all 
without the consent of all the riparian proprietors ; nor can any one 
riparian proprietor assign his right to water from such a stream to any 
one else. 

The riparian right to divert waters from a stream is confined to the 
case of very small streams, and is scarcely known in the valley of the 
Po. During the times of the ownership of the streams aud waters by 
the sovereigns of the states, and by the petty feudal rulers, and by the 
sovereign powers of the states as the representatives of all the people 
in each case, the right to divert water from any river or torrent could 
only be acquired in the states of Northern Italy by special grant or con- 
cession of privilege made on a formal application, after due examination 


and consideration of all the interests to be affected. And now that the 
country is united under one Government, and the waters belong to the 
royal or public domain, the same rule, and substantially the same for- 
malities in applying it, exist. 

It appears that the policy of the rulers in Lombardy, until the later 
years of its existence as a separate state, has generally been either to 
dispose of the waters of its streams in absolute property by gift or sale 
to those who constructed the canals to lead them out, or itself to construct 
such canals and sell the waters directly, or indirectly through farmers of 
the canal revenues, to the irrigators. The Government of Piedmont has 
generally been more conservative in the care of its waters. Absolute 
grants of ownership of waters ceased in that country before the begin- 
ning of the present century. Water privileges for all time have been 
issued, but the full right of regulation was reserved to the Government, 
and the cession of proprietorship in the water was expressly disclaimed. 
There are, however, important works whose proprietors have absolute 
rights of ownership in the waters, acquired in the centuries gone by. 
During the later years of the existence of the Piedmontese Government 
its waters were disposed of only on long-term leases. This last-men- 
tioned policy is that pursued by the Government of Italy since it has 
supplanted those of Lombardy and Piedmont, the duration and terms 
of concession being similar to those of Prance. 


While under the dominion of Rome all matters pertaining to the 
streams and waters of the country now called France were subject to 
Eoman law. Loug before the close of the Eoman rule the people had 
the full protection due citizens of Rome, so that at the time of the con- 
quest of Gaul by the Visigoths (A. D. 470 to 480) there was much land 
held in individual ownership, with the consequent private rights, on small 
streams ; but under the Merovingian kings the freehold titles to land dis- 
appeared, property was held by a different tenure under the sovereigns, 
and all rights of ownership in water-courses and waters was vested in 
the rulers themselves. The feudal system then grew up, and the water 
courses, from having belonged to the nation and the people, or to pri- 
vate individuals, under Roman law, and then exclusively to kings under 
Merovingian rule, became dependencies upon the liefs of the feudal 
courts, who assumed almost complete ownership of and control over 
them. A straggle was ever present between these nobles and the kings 
for the control of the water-courses, and the conflict did not cease until 
the Government had become centralized and feudalism overthrown, dur- 
ing the fourteenth century. In that century the study of the Roman 
law was actively reviewed in Prance, and feudalism being on the de- 
cline, the Roman law recognizing ownership of streams not of public 
importance, non-navigable streams, by the riparian proprietors became 
incorporated into the law of France. 

The kings asserted their ownership of all navigable streams and left 
the control and virtual ownership of non-navigable ones to the bank- 
owners, but really without any formal laws upon which to ground their 
claim of title to them. The public possessions of the kings held for the 
benefit of the nation became known as the " public domain." This 
policy of holding fast to all the nation's property is still adhered to by 
the Government, so that water-courses and waters once declared navi- 
gable and raftable can never be alienated from the public domain and 
become in any sense private property. 


The changes in the form of government occurring a little less than 
a century ago appear to have resulted in no completed action affecting 
the laws or customs respecting waters until 1803-04, when the Code 
Napoleon, which is the present civil code of the country, was promul- 
gated. The only direct statement relating to the ownership of water- 
courses or waters in this code is as follows : Highways, roads, and 
streets at the national charge, rivers and streams which will carry floats, 
shores, ebb and flow of sea (the land newly made by the sea), ports, 
harbors, roadsteads, and generally all portions of the national territory, 
which are not susceptible of private proprietorship, are considered as 
dependencies on the " public domain." A royal ordinance of 1835 enu- 
merated all the streams and parts of streams in France deemed naviga- 
ble and claimed as of the public domain, and other ordinances of later 
dates have added to the list. 

The sovereign authority to declare streams navigable, and hence part 
of the public domain, has not been disputed, but riparian proprietors 
who have been dispossessed of their right to water for irrigation, by the 
exercise of this power, have claimed and been allowed indemnities for 
actual damage caused them. Although only certain streams and parts 
of streams have thus far been added to the public domain, the admin- 
istration may at any time declare other streams or parts navigable or 
raftable, and thus make them public property, afterwards paying the 
riparian proprietors for actual damage. The state owning these water- 
courses is, of course, owner of the waters forming them, and these, with 
the beds, are alienable from the public domain ; their use only can be 
granted. According to the terms of the civil code, water- courses not 
navigable are common property. If the ownership of non-navigable 
water-courses cannot be fix^d elsewhere, then these streams belong to 
the nation, just as well as do those which have become part of the 
public domain. 

Eiparian proprietors claim the ownership of the channel bed to the 
center line in front of their property, and the claim is allowed, when 
the beds are permanently laid dry from any cause; alluvial deposits 
along their banks accrue to the benefit of the land-owner adjacent to 
whose field they form; islands forming in the channels belong to the 
adjacent bank-owners, and prior to the passage of a law specially to the 
point in 1847 the owner of one bank, although he might have secured ad- 
ministrative authority to build a dam in front of his own property, could 
not carry it past the center of the stream, or connect it with the opposite 
bank, without the consent of the bank owner. Until very recent years 
the beds of streams of this class belonged to and were under control of 
riparian proprietors, except where the Government has exercised a su- 
pervision of works and channels to insure a free flow for flood waters. 

The waters of non-navigable and non-rafrable streams were formerly 
claimed as the private property of the riparian proprietors. Their 
origin and division and the necessarily common control of the streams 
upset this theory. Then they were claimed by these proprietors as a 
sort of property held in common by them for the exclusive benefit of 
their lands and industries. It was and is still claimed by the owners 
of lands not bordering the streams that the waters belong to the whole 
people of France ; and while the riparian proprietors are given a right 
to use them in irrigation and otherwise, it is not exclusive, but the Gov- 
ernment can grant concessions for the use of some part of them on lands 
not riparian, so long as rights already accrued by use be not unduly or 
injuriously limited or their exercise inconvenienced by such action. 
The riparian proprietors now say, if the waters belong to the nation, 


they, the bank-owners, have a special and complete servitude on all sucli 
waters, which right to use is continuous and not forfeitable by failure 
to avail themselves of it at any time or any length of time, except as 
between themselves. The fact of the ownership of the waters of uon- 
navigable and non-raftable streams by the nation is now pretty well 
settled, and the tendency of decisions is towards a declaration of owner- 
ship by the nation of the beds also so long as occupied by the waters 
— so long as they are courses for public waters. 

Starting several centuries ago with almost complete ownership and 
control of the waters and channels of the streams not navigable nor 
raftable the riparian land owners have since been restricted in their 
rights, and now find themselves without any recognized claim of owner- 
ship in the waters, and only a semblance in the channel beds, until after 
these shall have been laid dry, but with a preferred privilege to the use 
of the waters. 

We find irrigation constantly favored in the laws in preference to 
manufacturing and many other uses of waters, domestic necessities and 
navigation alone ranking it in the scale, and the first of these two uses 
being the only one decidedly preferred to it in the administration of the 

On non-navigable and non-raftable streams the administration in the 
theory interferes with private operations conducted by those who as 
bank owners have rights on the streams under the ancient usages and 
civil code to regulate works in the channels or on the banks with a 
view to preserving the channels in the interest of the public and for 
developing a free passage for flood waters, and with, the view of pre- 
serving the interests of navigation on the main stream below. 

On the water courses of the public domain the policy of the Govern- 
ment is actuated by a solicitude for the interests of navigation, and then 
by an almost equal interest in promoting the economical and full use of 
the waters in agriculture, manufacturing, and industrial pursuits gen- 
erally, and finally by a realization of the pressing necessity for pro- 
moting the arterial drainage of the country, in order that floods may be 
prevented and valuable lands reclaimed. 

On non navigable water courses the administration is not authorized 
to interfere between the owners of works already constructed and those 
proposed or newly constructed. The administration is bound to pre- 
sume that the proprietor of lands on streams has a right to water there- 
from, aud can only interfere to the extent of regulating his works. 
The engineers can advise the parties in interest and bring before them 
all the facts as to measure of water supply and extent of use, &c, but 
if on such showings agreements cannot be arrived at, the administra- 
tion has no alternative but to sanction the construction of any new 
work proposed, provided the work itself is unobjectionable, leaving the 
court to decide whether or not the new appropriator is entitled to water. 
On navigable streams the administration is invested with full powers, 
not only to regulate works of all kinds, but to consider all questions 
relating to water privileges. In case of both classes of streams the 
engineers are charged with the duty of collecting aud arranging data 
respecting the supply and use of waters. 

The construction and management of all public works except those 
specially confided to the minister of war, of the navy, of education, of 
posts and telegraphs, and some others are delegated to the secretary of 
state or minister of public works. The care of all waters and water- 
courses, whether of public domain or not, their control and the control 
of the acts of individuals on their banks are regarded as of public con- 


cern, and the administration thus has to do with all affairs affecting 
streams. It is now the intention of the Government that all water- 
courses of public importance in France, whether navigable or raftable, 
and consequently of the public domain, or not floatable even for rafts 
and timber, but which are of public utility, shall be subject to the su- 
pervising care of special agents of the Government called guards. On 
non-navigable streams the guards are generally appointed on recom- 
mendation of the riparian owners, and others interested. 

No work of any kind, sort, or description may be erected upon a navi- 
gable stream or river floatable for rafts, or timber, or upon any stre am so 
declared, nor can any water be taken from such streams, except it be 
taken in a bucket or other similar hand vessel, without the project for 
which it is required and the plan by which it is to be constructed, if a 
work, or used, if a water privilege, having been first submitted to the 
administrative authority and publicly made known, so that it may be op- 
posed, if necessary. Older rights and those of industries most need- 
ful are always protected in the administration of affairs from day to 
day; but no right is so old or use so pressing that its owners have the 
power to control the diversion of the people's water, or use it in a waste- 
ful manner, or in any way hinder the full development and prosperity 
of other institutions dependent on water supply. 

It is on rivers and portions of rivers where it has become necessary to 
construct dams for navigation, and those still higher, which have been 
dammed for purposes of flotation, that water privileges are chiefly- 
sought after for power purposes, irrigation, municipal supply, and in- 
dustrial use. Such water-courses are public property, under full con- 
trol of the administration. Non-navigable tributaries of navigable 
streams, and these streams themselves above the points where they be- 
come navigable, are also under the control of the administration. Still 
or stagnant waters, those draining from marshes and ditches, that have 
free communication from navigable or raftable streams, and whose 
waters flow the year round, or waters where ferry-boats can enter at all 
times, and those cared for at the expense of the State, make part of the 
public domain, and a right to dispose of or use them may be had only 
by special authorization. 

Projects requiring special privileges to use water or sanction of plans 
to erect works in water-courses are undertaken either as private enter- 
prises of individuals to water their own lands, to run their own mills, 
or for other private purposes, or as speculative enterprises by indi- 
viduals, associated landholders, or capitalized incorporated companies 
desiring to sell water to consumers; When water privileges or permits 
to construct works are desired by individuals for their own private bene- 
fit in the use of water or otherwise, on navigable streams, an application 
must be made to the prefect of the department where the intended work 
or diversion is to be made. 

When water privileges on streams navigable and of the public do- 
main are desired by individuals, companies, or societies, for speculative 
purposes, all permits or concessions have to be acquired by decree de- 
liberated upon in the council of state. Whenever possible, the diver- 
sion of water for an irrigation canal or other use (requiring the con- 
struction of a dam in the river) is effected by a work which serves at 
the same time to hold back water for the promotion of navigation. 
Works designed for taking water for any purpose of a holder of a water 
privilege are always constructed and maintained at his expense, and 
when in close connection with a dam for navigation purposes, are carried 
out by the administration. Upon non-navigable water-courses which 


have not been declared to be dependencies on the public domain, iu the 
civic code, and which have not been improved in the interest of navi- 
gation, the expense of cleaning and caring for the channel generally is 
borne by the riparian land owners. 

Works erected and acts committed in the channels or on the banks of 
non-navigable or non-raftable water-courses, when they present no ob- 
struction to free flood flow, are subject to regulation by the law as ad- 
ministered by the courts ; but works located upon navigable streams, 
when not duly authorized by the administration, constitute infringe- 
ments of the authority of the commission of public ways, and are sub- 
ject to repression. Water privilege rents for irrigation works are rated 
upon the basis of the increase in yield due to irrigation, and are fixed 
at a sum annually paid, equivalent to one-tenth of the increase in value 
of produce on the laud irrigated over its produce before irrigation. 

Without meaning to limit the duration of water concessions, the rents 
are revised every thirty years, for, though revokable at any time, water 
right concessions on public streams are given for an indefinite time. 
Water privilege heads held in private control previous to the edict of 
1566 declaring the inalienability of the public domain, are free from the 
charge of rents, as are also those whose holders have titles derived by 
purchase from the Government. 

The exclusive right to water for milling and irrigation purposes from 
streams too small to be regarded by the kings as of public importance 
were accorded to the owners of the bank lands, apparently on the 
ground that they owned the beds and waters as well as the banks, pre- 
vious to the time of the Code Napoleon. In later years it appears to 
have become recognized that the waters were in reality a common prop- 
erty, and that the bank proprietors had only a right to use them and 
not a right of ownership in them. 

Still there was the open question, to whom were the waters a common 
property ; the riparian proprietors claiming to be the owners in common 
of the waters of each stream, and submitting to the control of the 
streams by the Government only as it was based upon the general police 
authority of the nation ; while the Government asserted its right to 
control, not only because of its general police powers, but because of the 
fact that the waters were really common property of the whole people, 
and not of the riparian proprietors alone, and that public interests were 
to be promoted, as well as other private interests guarded by it, and 
that its mission was one to promote public utility as well as repress or 
prevent abuse of private privileges in the protection of other privileges. 

The continued and growing abuse of the riparian water right privi- 
lege brought about an increased necessity for upholding this latter 
view, so that it became a popular sentiment, and owners of lands not 
riparian to the streams asserted a right to the waters for their irrigation 
on the ground that such waters were a common property of all the peo- 
ple; and asserting that the riparian owner's privilege of using them 
was not an exclusive privilege, but that upon a grant or permit from 
Government any land owner could divert them for use on his lands. In 
this view of the case by far the greater number of land proprietors were 
interested, so that the governmental policy of control was strongly up- 
held. Now the manufacturing interests took alarm. The owners of the 
hundreds of mills and manufactories depending upon water supply 
for power and other purposes scattered along the streams all over 
France, and holding rights, many of them dating back in the times of 
the counts, and all valuing the riparian right as a protection to their 
water supply, were arrayed against the advancing theory of the waters 


belonging to all tke people and due to all the people for use. The Gov- 
ernment continued to uphold the theory of the waters of these small 
streams being a common property of all the people, but no step was taken 
to accord land owners other than riparian proprietors any right to use 

The case appears to have stood this way wheu the Code Napoleon was 
promulgated in 1804. This code contained provisions which in course 
of time were recognized as placing the ownership of the waters of the 
smaller class of streams in the nation, but declared the use of things of 
this class to be common to all. Left with this provision only, the waters 
of these streams would have been thrown open to use by all the people. 
But an article, under the head of " servitudes," seemed to place a special 
servitude (right of use) on these waters for the benefit of riparian es- 
tates. The Government had its hands strengthened in its policy of con- 
trol and regulation, aud the fundamental principle contended for by the 
owners of lands not riparian, as well as by Government, was recognized. 

Theownership of water belongs to the state, without prejudicing the 
right to the same which corporations or individuals may have acquired 
by legal title in conformity with the provisions of special laws in rela- 
tion to public real estate. The enjoyment of the ownership of water is 
subject to the following provision : No one may use the water of the 
rivers in such a maimer as to obstruct navigation, nor construct in them 
works which hiuder the free passage of vessels or rafts, or the using of 
any other means of water transportation. In a similar manner the 
hindrance or obstruction of the use of the banks is prohibited when 
they may be necessary for the same ends. 

The proprietor of water, whatever may be his title, has no power to 
hinder the use of so much as is necessary for the supply of persons or 
stockmen who are in possession of or living on real estate; nor to oppose 
the indispensable works to provide for that necessity in such a manner 
as shall be the least burdensome to the proprietor. He may have the 
right to indemnity reserved, except from those inhabitants who have 
acquired the use of water by prescription or by other legal title. 

The provisions of this code relating to the servitudes of water shall 
not interfere in any manner with rights legally acquired up to this date 
concerning the same. 

The proprietor of water has no power to divert its course in such a 
manner as to cause damage to a third party from overflow or from any 
other cause. If any person dig a well on his premises, notwithstand- 
ing he may diminish the flow of water upon the adjoining land, he is not 
obliged to give indemnity. Every one who has acquired water, the use 
of which he may dispose of, has the right to pass through the interven- 
ing lands, subject to tbe obligation of indemnity to their owners, and 
also to the owners of any lower lands upon which the water may leak 
or descend; but edifices, their courts, gardens, and other appurtenances 
are excepted from the servitude established by the foregoing provisions. 
He who has the right of use has the right of way for water, and is 
obliged to construct the necessary channel through the intermediate 
lands, although there may be other channels for the use of other waters. 
He who has on his lands a channel for the use of water which belongs 
to him may prevent the opening of another, offering to give passage 
through his own channel, provided it does not cause damage to the 
claimant. He must permit the passage of waters across canals and 
aqueducts in the manner most suitable to the course of the waters 
which are to be conducted by them, and the volume must not be altered 
nor the two waters mingled in both aqueducts. 


In toe case of right of passage tb rough intermediate lands, if it be- 
comes uecessary to conduct the aqueduct over a road, river, or public 
stream, it is indispensable that permission should be previously ob- 
tained from the authority to whose care the road, river, or stream is 
intrusted. Such authority shall only grant permission, subject to regu- 
lations binding the owner of the water for which passage is sought, not 
to hinder the passage of the water, nor injure the highway, nor inter- 
fere with or stop the course of the river or torrent. He who without 
previous permission makes a passage for water or causes it to flow upon 
the highway shall be obliged to restore it to its former condition, and 
give indemnity to any one to whom damage may have been caused, in 
addition to paying the penalties imposed by the public regulations. 

He who seeks to use the privilege (right of way through intermedi- 
ate lands) must previously, first, prove that he can dispose of the water 
which he claims to conduct ; second, affirm that the route which is 
solicited is the most suitable and the least burdensome, to third parties; 
third, pay the value of the land which he shall occupy by the canal 
according to the estimate made by experts, with an addition of 10 per 
cent.; fourth, compensate for all immediate damages, including those 
which will result from dividing the land into two or more parts. 

Where the use of a canal already built is offered, he who claims the 
passage of water must pay in i>roportion to the quantity of the same 
and the value of the land occupied by it and the necessary expenses 
for the preservation of the canal, without prejudice to the indemnity 
that must be given for any other expenses which may be occasioned by 
the passage which is to be conceded. 

The quantity of water which may be passed through the aqueduct 
established on the adjoining land shall have no other limitation than 
that which results from the capacity of the water-way as determined 
by its dimensions. Should the person enjoying the use of the water- 
way be compelled to enlarge it, he must bear the necessary cost, and 
pay for the land which is merely occupied, and for any damages caused. 
The damage is to be estimated by experts with an addition of 10 per 
cent., and account shall be taken of both immediate and resulting dam- 
ages. The legal servitude before mentioned carries with it, subject to 
provisions hereinafter contained, the right of way for persons and ani- 
mals and the transportation of the necessary materials for the use and 
repair of the water-way. 

The provisions and same laws concerning the passage of water are 
applicable to marsh lands requiring drainage or an outlet. The con- 
cessions which may be obtained from the competent authority are to 
be without prejudice to other rights previously acquired. Every one who 
has the use of an aqueduct, whether it passes through his land or through 
lauds adjoining, must construct and maintain the bridges, canals, aque- 
ducts, subterranean and other necessary works, so that the rights of 
others may not be prejudiced. Those desiring to enjoy the use shall 
pay in proportion to that enjoyment, if there be no prescription or con- 
tract to the contrary. The code contains provisions for keeping the 
water pure and for the construction of such works as may be required, 
in order that the course of the water may not be interrupted. 

The owner of land subject to the servitude of right of way may desig- 
nate the place in which the servitude shall be constituted. 

If the proper judge shall decide the place to be impracticable or very 
burdensome, the owner of the land must designate another. If the place 
is subject to the same objection as the first, the judge shall designate one 


which shall be established, taking into consideration the interest of 
both properties. 

If there are several pieces of property through which must be given 
a passage or a public way, the servitude shall be that of the shortest 
distance. If the distance shall be the same upon the properties, tiui 
judge shall designate through which of them it shall be given passage 

The width of the right of way shall be such as the necessities of th<i 
case may be deemed, in the discretion of the judge, to require, but shall 
not exceed 5 meters nor be less than 2 meters, without the consent of 
the parties interested. 

The court of cassation and the council of state have each decided also 
that the fall or slope of a channel is not the property of the land pro- 
prietors, and that it enters into the class of things which, by the terms 
of an article in the Code Napoleon, do not belong to anybody, the 
use being common to all, and the enjoyment regulated by the police 
laws; hence the administration grants a proprietor the right to back 
water into the channel in front of lands above him by means of his 
dam, so long as he does not injure or endanger the lands in any way. 
Here, again, was a step towards the abolition of the exclusive riparian 
control of the smaller stream, and a movement towards declaration of 
public ownership of the chaunels themselves. And thus the matter 
stands. The riparian proprietors still monopolize the right to use the 
waters from streams of this class. The code merely gives every riparian 
owner a privilege of using the water. No matter how old a privilege 
may be, the administration in the public interest has always the right to 
turn sufficient water past the dam to satisfy the personal wants of pro- 
prietors below, and it can even compel the construction of a sluice-way 
in the dam to be used for this purpose. 

As a matter of fact, the streams are controlled and the waters appor- 
tioned out to those who have claims on them by administrative regula- 
tions. The matter of the ownership of springs has been one full of con- 
tention in France; but it is now well settled by the provisions of the 
code and the decisions under it. He who possesses a spring within his 
field may make use of it at his pleasure. The code defines certain cir- 
cumstances under which the control of springs is limited and qualified, 
the causes being the necessities of communities for water for domestic 
purposes, the necessities of the State for water for purposes of naviga- 
tion, the rights which persons other than the owners of springs may have 
acquired by purchase or by prescription. The courts can, in the inter- 
est of agriculture in general and for the benefit of local agriculturists, 
prevent wasteful or selfish use of spring waters. 

The ownership and control of springs is so complete and absolute that 
so long as the waters remain within the property where they rise, even 
though used as power for manufacturing purposes, or otherwise, the 
administration can do nothing to interfere with the proprietor's use of 

But if spring waters be led across or into property other than that 
containing the source, for whatever purpose, the stream is subject to 
regulations, as in the case of others. The owner of a spring cannot 
change the course of its waters when they furnish the necessary supply 
to the inhabitants of a commune, village, or hamlet. 

Government can take possession of springs to feed canals for navi- 
gation, but on condition that it pay a just indemnity. 

The absolute right of ownership in a spring is also modified by pur- 
chased titles, by prescription, and by servitude set up by the division of 
an estate containing a spring. 



The Spanish law of waters, as it now exists, is a code in itself, which 
was finally determined and promulgated in 1866, after a study of the 
whole subject for eight years by a commissioner appointed for the pur- 
pose. The law of 1866 comprehends all that is treated in laws of va- 
rious kinds relating at all to waters, high seas, sea-shores, beaches, bays, 
rivers, &c. The Spanish law makes the broad distinction between wa- 
ters on private and corporate property, which it calls private waters, 
and those on the public domain, which are called public waters. 

With respect to the acquirement of right to divert water for irriga- 
tion from streams on private or corporate property the law may be 
summarized as follows : waters which rise on private property belong to 
the owner of the property, provided he does not forfeit his right by non- 
use for twenty years. 

Waters running through private property are i)rivate waters, subject 
to use by owners of the banks. They may appropriate them for the pur- 
pose of irrigation on their estates, to be taken in their order from the 
head of the stream down. 

Works for the diversion of waters from a private stream may be con- 
structed by the owner of the banks without official sanction, provided 
always that the amount of water to be diverted does not exceed 10 
liters (about one-third of a cubic foot per second) in any one instance; 
but, if the proposed diversion exceeds this amount, notice must be 
given through the alcalde for the information of the governor of the 

This notice is given for the purpose of setting before the people the 
facts in the case, and in order that an investigation may be held, which 
will determine whether or not the proposed appropriation will interfere 
with existing rights. 

The waters of public streams are held to be the property of the king- 
dom. It is necessary to obtain an official sanction or grant of right 
before such waters can be diverted and used in public or private irriga- 
tion enterprise, except where the quantity diverted by any one appro- 
priates does not exceed 10 liters per second, or where it is to be ab- 
stracted from navigable rivers by pumping machinery, or when the water 
appropriated is only the rain or storm water which drains rapidly away 
in the torrent beds. This grant of right is accorded only affer ex- 
tended and minute examination of the proposed project by the pro- 
vincial authorities, and after hearing all that may be said by those 
whose interests may be opposed to the diversion. There is no such 
thing as unlicensed appropriation in large amounts, and no such thing 
as unregulated diversion of waters from the streams. 

The waters are held by the Government for the use of the people. 
Under the Spanish law water is diverted for irrigation in large volumes 
from the public streams, but it is done under special sanctions from the 
authorities of the district, in a manner not to interfere with or injure 
other persons dependent upon its use. 


The problems of rainfall, water supply, and irrigation are of primary 
importance in the Republic of Mexico/ A study of the laws and sys- 
tems pursued therein is of the greatest importance to American en- 
gineers and agriculturists engaged in the practical work of irrigation. 
Mexico is essentially a dry country; its cultivation is dependent on 



artificial distribution of water. Its indigenous vegetation presents all 
the characteristics of an arid region. From all historical evidences it 
is seen that irrigation was among its earliest necessities and was the 
most prominent care of its people, of whatever race or condition. The 
soil of Mexico, as well as of that portion of the United States which 
formerly belonged to our neighboring Republic, is fertile and fruitful 
when once vitalized by the application of water. The table lands are 
everywhere adapted for grazing, and water can generally be found in 
quantity sufficient for the use of cattle. The forests are valuable and 
abundant. That an increase in water-storage capacity would largely 
add to the agricultural value of Mexico is obvious, and such an increase 
is becoming especially necessary in connection with the construction 
and maintenance of railroads. 

Mr. J. H. Goodspeed, auditor of the Mexican Central Railway Com- 
pany, writes the Department as follows : 

The sources from which the water supply is derived along the line of the Mexican 
Central are springs, wells, storage reservoirs, and permanent streams, and these 
are all dependent upon the annual rainfall. In most cases the supply of water at our 
water stations is obtained from wells dug hy the company, and these vary in depth 
from 20 to : J >00 feet, and the water is raised to the tanks either by hand or steam pump. 
In a few cases they have springs that afford a gravity supply, but they are very few. 
In order to preserve the rainfall, storage reservoirs have been built, from which the 
water is distributed by open canals or ditches, and in many places extensive aque- 
ducts of masonry have been constructed to convey the water across valleys so as to 
utilize it for irrigation. This system of irrigation, by means of storage reservoirs, 
can to good advantage be greatly increased, as where land can be irrigated two crops 
a year are obtained ; but at the present only a small portion of the rainfall is utilized. 
The season known as the rainy season lasts some two months, and is for themostpart 
confined to tho period between June 15 and September 15. The following will show 
you the average amount of rainfall at the city of Mexico for seven years and the 
State of Aguas Calientes for fifteen years : 


City of Mexico. 



rainy days 

in seven 






State of Aguas Calientes, fifteen 




rainy days 

in fifteen 




January .. 
February . 






August . . . 

































The only artesian wells on the line of our road are at the city of Mexico, where 
good water is found at tho depth of from 200 to 500 feet below the surface. These 
wells arc usually flowing, but with only a small head, and have to be pumped when 
a large supply is needed. 

The laws and customs controlling water in Mexico, so far as our road is affected, 
require tho provision of suitable passages for all water used for irrigation. 

On February 14, 1856, a law was enacted controlling the distribution 
of water. The old unit of measure for water was the surco (or sulco) 


iu the country, and the paja in cities, but an act of March 15, 1857, put 
the French metrical system in force in the Republic, and a decree of 
August 2, 1863, made the liter (0.26417 gallon)* the unit of measure 
for water, fixing upon 6 J liters per second of time as the equivalent of 
a surco (or sulco), and forty-live one hundredths of a liter per minute 
as the equivalent of a paja of the old measurement. In cases of legal 
contest, wherein a right to a certain quantity of water was claimed un- 
der prior titles, or documents, sanctioned by law, the measurement was 
still to be given in surcos. 

Engineers aud surveyors were required to have regard, whether in 
city or in country, to the degree of inclination (amount of fall) in water 
channels, to take into account in each case the amount of pressure, and 
to present in their statements both the formulas employed and the 
reasons for their calculations. 

The royal instruction of October 15, 1754, was passed to regulate the 
sale and distribution of land and water rights in the Indies. Sub- 
delegates were to be appointed by the viceroys and presidents of the 
royal audiency, who were to have jurisdiction of such matters, and they 
were directed not to disturb possessions in lands embraced in settle- 
ments, or on which labor had been expended, or which were cultivated 
or utilized for pasturage. It was also required that all persons who 
desired to possess royal grants of unoccupied lands and water, and 
those owners who had possessed, without occupation or cultivation from 
the year 1700 up to the date of the instruction, should present them- 
selves before the subdelegates and prove their titles within a period of 
time to be designated by the same authority; and when they had titles 
to allege which were not yet confirmed, but were issued before the year 
1700, they were to be allowed pacific possession in conformity with the 
law. They were, however, required to register the title. From those 
who had no title there was required a sworn declaration of long pos- 
session, which was allowed to stand as a just title by prescription. 
Those who desired to acquire title were required to expend labor upon, 
cultivate, or occupy the grants for a period of three months ; and if the 
period expired without the requirements having been fulfilled by the 
grantee, the grant might be denounced by any one who fulfilled them. 

It was also provided that possessors of lands sold or distributed in or 
after the year 1700 should never be molested, and their titles were thus 
confirmed ; but those who did not possess their property as aforesaid 
were required to solicit confirmation of their titles from the audiencias 
of their district or from the proper authorities, and if they failed to do 
so within the period designated their possessions were forfeited to the 
crown, although labor might have been expended on them. 

The guiding and fundamental principle throughout the whole of the 
regulations will be found to have been that all such property was an- 
nexed to or incorporated into the royal crown to such a degree that in 
order to hold possession it was necessary that individual possessors 
must have alleged and proved that their water rights had been con- 
ceded by special favor, because the law declares that to the prince, and 
to no other, appertained the right of distribution of water. This is 

*Thc metric system is founded irpon the meter (about 39.37 inches), which was in 
tended to be the ten millionth part of the distance from the equator to the pole, meas- 
ured over the surface of the earth, but in reality differs slightly from this measure- 
ment. The liter is a cubic decimeter, the decimeter being the tenth part of a meter. 

The unit for land measure is the are, which is a square having sides of ten meters 
in length. The hectare (100 ares) is about 2.471 acres. 


still the controlling principle of Mexican law.* The waters must re- 
main under the sole and absolute dominion of the sovereign, all waters 
of the public rivers (or water-courses of public and common use) being 
his rights. This principle was so far qualified that any one might take 
what he needed for domestic use, but no one could take public waters 
upon his private grounds for irrigation without royal permission. A 
torrent is a stream of water originating from snow and rain at certain 
seasons, that is, when the snow and rain raise the streams. Eivers are 
divided into public and private. The public river is one where all en- 
joy the right to fish. The private stream is one by which some con- 
tract or agreement has become private property, and differs in nothing 
from other private property, and in describing it " it has no banks." 
Banks are the precise limits between which the streams run in their 
natural course, which are as the shores to the sea. In concession of 
land, if concessions are made jointly of the waters originating upou it, 
they are appurtenances of the lands granted. Being a servitude, wa- 
ters had their place among the royal country servitudes. Fountains 
and springs belong to the owners of the lands in which they rise as 
parts and appurtenances thereof, for which reason they are conceded 
with the lands. 

A servitude is the right of doing something on the land of another, 
or of preventing the owner from doing something. 

The servitude is a property appertaining to the thing, so that it ad- 
heres to it, no matter who may be the owner. Servitudes depend on the 
proximity of two predial estates, that of the person entitled to the ser- 
vitude, and that of the person who has to submit to it. If for the en- 
joyment of the servitude the estate on which it is imposed requires some 
repairs, they must be done by him entitled to the servitude. The right 
of servitude is not susceptible of division, but its enjoyment may be 
limited to days, months, &c. Such rights are acquired in the same man- 
ner as other property, and are either continued or interrupted ; contin- 
ued servitudes are those which may be used daily, interrupted ones, 
such as cannot be so used. 

In connection with the use of water there are both urban and predial 

The predial servitudes relating to water are, first, the right of conduct- 
ing water by means of canals or pipes over the land of your neighbor 
for the purpose of driving a mill, or of irrigating your land; second, 
the right of drinking out of a fountain, or of watering there your cattle. 

The servitude of the aqueduct is the right of conducting water upon 
the ground or field away from the stream for irrigation or other use, 
specified in the right of servitude, which carries with it the right of way 
for the water pipes, &c, and for those who have the care of them. 

It is unlawful to construct any work damaging others. If the con- 
struction of any work on the banks of a stream causes damage to the 
lands of a neighbor, the law gives him a right of action for the damage 
occasioned, and the works constructed must be removed. 

He who alleges his servitude is obliged to prove it, possession is not suf- 
ficient ; the right must be acquired in one of three ways : by agreement, 
by inheritance, or by prescription. It is unlawful to alter the natural 
course of a stream to the prejudice of third parties ; but a person through 
whose ground the water is conducted may alter the channel for the sake 
of its more convenient use upon his land, provided that other parties 
be not prejudiced thereby. 

*The rights of the prince descending to the Government of the Republic. 

S. Mis. 15 — -13 


A servitude may be constituted not only at the source of the water, 
but upon auy part of its course. It may be for a continuous flow, or a 
flow at certain intervals of time — that is, stated days or hours. The 
examination of springs must be made by experts, whose report must 
state under oath that the truth has been faithfully given, without favor 
toward either of the parties. 

The measurements for distribution are regularly obtained from the 
examinations, or measurements to determine the amount of the natural 
flow, the distribution being made to each person according to his position 
on a line. Hence, in measurements of examination, no changes are made, 
whereas in those for distribution the water-ways are enlarged, dimin- 
ished, and changed to conform to the letter of the grants of water. 
Measurements of examination are to be conducted at the most favorable 
distance from the reservoir or ditch, so that the water may run as nearly 
direct as possible and without too great rapidity of current. The reser- 
voir shall be made in conformity with some geometrical figure by which 
its area can be calculated, to which shall be applied a marking-board 
in such a manner as to show the quantity of water that is withdrawn. 
The marking-board shall have marginal numbers showing the available 
height of the water, so that by multiplying this by the width the area 
of the vertical section may be formed. It is to be understood that water 
must always be taken in the manner in which it has been from the be- 
ginning, so that no more can be taken, nor can it be taken by any longer 
route. Those who are in possession of a water servitude must be main- 
tained and protected. In order to constitute such a servitude the flow 
of water must either be continuous or at certain intervals of time. 

Dominion cannot be exercised upon the lands of another unless dis- 
tributing tanks or aqueducts are bnilt with separate basins, with aper- 
tures in the sides, having gates of the proper size to give to each the 
quantity to which he is entitled. If the form given to the aperture is 
that of a square, the area being given, the square root shall be the di- 
ameter of the orifice. If it should be circular, the diameter may be 
found by the rule of Archimedes, that as 11 is to 14, so is the area of 
the figure to the square of the diameter, the square root of which is the 
diameter of the required orifice. 

In distributing water from basins or reservoirs all the parties inter- 
ested must obtain their amounts from apertures at an equal depth, 
although the sizes of the openings may be different. In taking water 
from a horizontal canal, through orifices in its vertical sides, a stop of the 
same size and figure as the opening must be set into the wall on the side 
of the opening towards which the current runs, so as to drive the water 
into the orifices. 

When various parties parti cipate in the distribution of water, all tanks 
and receptacles and all openings for drawing it off should remain un- 
changed in their dimensions and proportions, so as to preserve to each 
the quantity publicly granted. The builder of such tanks and orifices 
shall be the judge of the shape most suitable, but they shall have a 
uniform altitude, increasing or diminishing the bases, if rectangular, 
but if circular their centers must be on the same horizontal line. It is 
an inflexible rule that the water which issues from these apertures should 
have the same fall, for two reasons — they start from the same level line 
of base j or, if they take water from a fall, it is from the same apron- 
stone upon which the waters fall, although carried away from thence 
in different troughs or clrutes; the gravitation of water increases its 
velocity in proportion to the distance through which it falls. The point 
of delivery must be below that of the source. The surface of the water 


curves to correspond with the surface of the terrestrial globe, and in 
using a level, to avoid the error of assuming the water-level to be a 
straight line, the instrument should be set in the middle of each stretch 
of the line to be leveled, which may be longer or shorter according: to 
the slope of the ground. All the proprietors who participate in the 
benefit derived from the works which have been treated of are under 
obligation to contribute to the payment of the expense of their execu- 
tion in proportion to their interest, according to an appraisement by ex- 
perts. Those who by their own culpable negligence have occasioned 
any damage must be responsible for it. 

The owner of land in which there is a natural fountain or source, or 
who has dug a running well, may cover it, or confine it by a pond or 
dam, to detain its running waters for his own ground, and may use and 
dispose of the waters freely. If he have surface waters which pass 
upon another piece of land, the owner of such land, upon the lapse of 
twenty years, reckoned from the date on which he has constructed 
works designed to regulate their fall or course, may acquire property in 
the waters so received. But this provision does not prohibit the owner 
of the source of any water, or of a pool, or a dam, from availing him- 
self of all of the enjoyment of the waters possible within the limits of 
his estate. 

The lower lands must receive the waters which naturally, and with- 
out the work of man, come from the upper or higher lands, as well as 
the stone and earth which it takes in its course, nor shall the owner of 
the lower land make any works which obstruct the servitude, nor the 
upper any works that increase the servitude. The owner of the land 
on which there are works to conserve the water, or on which for an alter- 
ation of the water-course it becomes necessary to construct new ones, 
is required, in the absence of any special law to the contrary, either to 
make necessary repairs or constructions, or without demanding remu- 
neration to allow the same to be made by. land owners who have expe- 
rienced, or are immediately exposed to injury from the water which he 
has arrested in its flow, or diverted from its natural course. The pro- 
visions of the foregoing are applicable to the case in which it is neces- 
sary to relieve any land of those materials which accumulate or hinder 
m the flow of water, resulting in damage or peril to a third party. 

In distributing water among a number of claimants the following al- 
lowances are made : For a flour-mill, 8 continuous sulcos ; for a pulling 
mill, 3 sulcos ; for sugar-mills, 8 sulcos ; and to irrigate a tract of land 
of about 33 J acres, 2 sulcos, or if it be a cane plantation of the same 
size, 4 sulcos. The quantity is, however, not absolute, but depends on 
the slope of the ground and other circumstances. 

When the water supply is found insufficient to meet the requirements 
of the parties interested, resort must be had to distribution by turns, 
some using water in the day-time and others at night, or any other way 
which may be agreed upon, because that which belongs to the whole 
public should be so controlled that all may have a share in the distri- 

Appendix No. 1 


Below are presented extended extracts from a report on American irrigation to the 
governor of the Australian colony of Victoria, made by the Hon. Alfred Deakin, M. P., 
chairman of the Koyal Commission on Water Supply, 1884-85. They will be of great 
interest to the American reader, not only because of the author's lucid style, but be- 
cause his field of investigation covers in a remarkable manner the lines of inquiry 
followed in collecting the materials for the foregoing report, while he presents in 
much detail precisely the kind of information which it has been the object of the De- 
partment to collect : . 


The extent of the area irrigated in the West is the more surprising since the practice 
as compared with that of Europe is a thing of yesterday. In Mexico irrigation was 
practiced before the Spanish conquest, and there are a few spots in its old provinces, now 
forming the southwestern States of the Union, where, either at the Indian villages or at 
the missions, plots can be seen which have been cultivated for a century by its means. 
In Utah Americans began irrigating in a primitive way forty years ago, and their ex- 
ample was followed in that fashion, especially near the Mexican border and under Mex- 
ican tutelage, for a score of years. But the real development of American irrigation, now 
so widespread, has taken place entirely during the last quarter of a century, and mainly 
during the last fifteen years. During that period it has been lifted out of its early rude- 
ness and carelessness into something like science and skill. Its traditions date no far- 
ther than this; its records do not date so far. The strides it has taken may be judged 
from the now current estimate that, as against 4, 500 miles of canal in Lombardy, there 
are 12,000 miles of main canals in the West, and that the capital invested in and about 
them is expressed in millions of pounds sterling. 


The irrigated lands of America, though widely various, may be divided into two great 
classes. The rolling prairies of Kansas and sloping uplands of Colorado belong to one 
division. Poor and brown in ordinary seasons, their buffalo and bunch grasses are often 
green after favorable spring rains, and it seems but natural that, when a constant sup- 
ply of water is secured, these treeless expanses should be gradually conquered by the 
march of settlement from thickly inhabited and closely cultivated districts. Not so 
with the sandy wastes stretching in a broad belt from the north to the south and south- 
west of the arid region. Here there is no prospect of any early invasion due to pressure of 
population or overflow from crowded towns. Here there is nothing to attract, and every- 
thing to repel. Here even the rich red mesa lands that lie under the shadow of the foot- 
hills are desolate at all times and all seasons — so desolate that it seems impossible they 
should ever sustain a living thing. From them the illimitable desert, bare and blinding 
in its glaring barrenness, stretches far away to the mirage towers that shift along a dull 
and undefined horizon. Much of the soil is so powdery, even in winter, that it follows 
in a lazy trail of cloud the horse of the solitary rider, or is sucked up in whirlwinds 
under the scorching summer sun. Elsewhere its gravelly and gritty surfaces, strewn 
with splintered bowlders, are seamed into gaping gulches and fissures of inappeasable 
thirst. There is no grass, the only vegetation being a withered-looking brush resem- 
bling saltbush, the thirsty- looking cactus, a juiceless scrub like our ti-tree, or thorny 
variety of stunted palm. 

Such is the Mapimi Desert in Mexico, the Maricopa Desert in Arizona, or the Mojave 
Desert in California; and such, without water, they must remain. As it is, these wastes 



of sandy aridity and gray innntritious herbage, surrendered by nature to solitude, 
surround oases created and sustained by irrigation. In the distance the track of a 
canal, pleasantly breaking the dull level of the dried-up plain, is marked sometimes 
for miles by a line of green bushes following its sinuous course. By and by this line 
broadens as if into a great green plantation dotted with houses, divided into gardens, 
and decked with flowers. Its little fields, fringed with flourishing trees, are bright with 
fresh-springing pasture, upon which stock are grazing, or else crowded with dark orange 
groves and clustering vines. In the center of it is a tiny township, busy with teams 
and traders, where the train stops for a moment or two. When it starts again the houses 
and trees vanish as if by enchantment, and the engine rushes on through the dreary 
desert once more. 

It is thus that the eye bears testimony to the fruits of irrigation in the South; and 
in the North, though in a less striking way, the lesson is the same. The unpretentious 
ditches that wind along the hill-sides or prairie ridges are not notable themselves until 
it is perceived that, where they are not, a scattered herd of rough cattle, a small party of 
roving Indians, or a burly rancher are the only objects of interest, while, where they 
multiply, are the buildings, the barns, and the business. A stretch of open country 
broken by long ridges of canals, its paddocks plotted off into little checks, with a bare- 
footed Chinaman or high-booted. European, spade in hand, directing the water from one 
to the other, are common features of the landscape, where one beholds industry and in- 
telligence transmuting barren surfaces into orchards and fields of waving grain. Familiar, 
too, are the knots of active men, the little camp of tents, and toiling teams, that mark 
the progress of a new ditch into the wilderness, where it is to create a settlement and 
maintain it in the face of all seasons. The Indian village, the Mexican pueblo, the 
American township, all cluster about the natural stream, or the artificial stream which 
makes it serviceable. For in these parched regions its progress is everywhere a triumphal 
march. It is here veritably the water of life — life to the grass and flower, to the loaded 
tree, to man, and to the City of men, whose homesteads and harvests follow in its wake. 


In Western America the water supply is almost invariably provided by private com- 
panies. In one instance, that of Los Angeles, California, where this rule obtains, a water 
supply has been undertaken by the municipal body, but it is not employed for domestic 
purposes, being applied, curiously enough, to irrigation only. The outlay incurred is 
recouped by sale of the water to the farmers, a great number of whom have their 
plats within the city boundaries. The local governing body of Salt Lake, Utah, has 
also undertaken a similar work, though this is maintained out of the ordinary rates in- 
stead of by sale of water. Local governing bodies, however, do not, as a rule, go so far 
as this, even where, as in Los Angeles and Salt Lake, water for irrigation is as essential 
to the maintenance of towns as is water for dripking purposes. The utmost they do is to 
permit, as in Carson City, Nevada, a canal 6 feet wide to run along a main road unfenced, 
or, as in Phoenix, Arizona, to permit ditches 3 feet and 4 feet deep to cross their roads 
without requiring them to be fenced or bridged. Beyond this, municipalties do nothing. 
State governments have never done anything in the way of undertaking or assisting in 
the construction of irrigation works. They are not expected to undertake them, and 
there does not appear any likelihood of their ever having any proprietary connection 
with them. The central (General) Government maintains if possible an attitude of even 
greater indifference. All the irrigation works of Western America, with the exceptions 
above named, have been constructed and maintained wholly and solely by private per- 
sons. Not only has the Government spent nothing upon them, but it has known noth- 
ing of them. They have been constructed outside the law, extra legally if not ille- 
gally. Even now only two States and one Territory have attempted to deal legislatively 
with any of the problems raised, and it is not claimed that in more than one of 
these has anything substantial been achieved. In Colorado the State engineer has is- 
sued one report, which includes a register of water rights. In California the State en- 
gineer has issued one report sj)ecially dealing with irrigation, but there is no register of 
water rights. In ho other State or Territory is there either report or register. These 
reports are of great intrinsic merit, but have a farther interest, inasmuch as they are 
the only official papers published by any State bearing upon irrigation. 


Only the fringe of the subject having been touched officially, the visitor who desires 
to study irrigation finds that the data upon which he must build his conclusions are not 
to be obtained ready garnered in a State office, but that they are virtually uncollected, 
and must be sought for in the fields of practical farmers. The officials of the Central 


Government and of the State governments exhibit the most considerate courtesy, but 
can only regret that they have been so hampered by want of means and authority that 
they have not been able to carry on their work in this direction, so as to place the matter 
upou a scientific basis. This condition of things is doubtless largely due to the newness 
of the country, and will tend to disappear as these regions attain to the age, population, 
and organization of the Eastern States. All that could be done to urge the Legislature 
of California to action has been done by the State engineer, who, with his colleague in 
Colorado, has managed at last to partially educate public opinion as to the duty of the 
State in this relation. But their best endeavors at present can only point to the sources 
in which knowledge must be looked for. The farmers of America compare favorably 
with those of any country in method, quickness, and caution, but they are not given to 
recording exact quantities of water, or the special conditions of its use, or yet the re- 
sults obtained with the exactness required for professional investigation. Many of them 
have been their own engineers or have employed engineers who either used no plans or 
have mislaid them. The many lawsuits as to the use of water now pending in Califor- 
nia naturally render capitalists who have engaged in great irrigation enterprises within 
its boundaries somewhat chary of giving their private records for publication. Again, 
partly because of the neglect of the various States to collate facts and figures relating 
to irrigation, each district has grown up with its own theories, prejudices, and customs, 
differing often to a noteworthy degree from those of its neighbors. 


The circumstances of the several States also naturally lead to great differences in their 
irrigation works. The mountain torrents of Colorado require to be grappled with by 
large and powerful weirs before they can be raised, so as to cover the high rolling up- 
lands, while the shallow rivers of Southern California call for light structures only ca- 
pable of elevating water a few feet, so as to lead it across sandy plains. Farming in the 
bottom lands of Arizona has led to the use of wing-dams, which can direct the flood 
waters of spring along the ridges, and thence command the flats beneath, and a some- 
what similar class serve for the low levees of Kansas, while its bench or mesa lands (the 
secondary flats or table lands running up to foot-hills) call for larger ditches and stronger 
works, drawing their supply from the turbid Arkansas. In Utah and New Mexico we 
touch upon primitive works supplying small plats of land with little driblets of the 
precious fluid, out of which, with care and economy, thriving settlements are built up. 
The parent source of this system, and indeed of American irrigation, is Old Mexico, where 
irrigation, from the simplicity of the Egyptian water-lifter to the masonry weir and solid 
stone aqueduct of centuries ago, spreads its way over the whole of the territory closed in 
its temperate and tropic zones. If it is difficult to arrive at accurate information in the 
United States, in Mexico it is impossible. There is no trustworthy measurement of 
water, and but the lowest measure of products; a majority of those who till are too ig- 
norant, and the minority who own the soil too indifferent to record their experience; 
the State does nothing to assist, and has no bureau to take cognizance of this most impor- 
tant factor of its chief source of wealth. Everywhere in the States or in Mexico private 
enterprise is supreme, and one learns only from private persons. The general condition 
is scanty collections of facts, and often opposite conclusions drawn from them. 


Remembering the immense extent of the arid area, and the magnitude of the irriga- 
tion already undertaken in it, one cannot but be surprised at the nature of the legislation 
under which it has been developed. Still the omissions and mistakes made in the States 
furnish some valuable material. The Aztecs were experts in the art of irrigation when 
Cortez landed upon their shores, and the Spaniards who conquered them brought their 
"Law of Waters" into force in their possessions. Under the Montezumas, water was 
the property of the commune; under the Spaniards it become the property of the King. 
In both, the public interest was thus permanently recognized. Private acquisition was 
permitted for domestic purposes, but not for irrigation or industrial uses, except upon 
an authority derived from the Crown or its delegates as representing the public interest. 
Property in water, however, can be acquired by uncontested possession for twenty years, 
and is superior to property on land, since its owner has the right to carry it over any 
land which may lie between its source of supply and the farm to which he wishes to 
apply it, on payment of compensation and justification of the route. There are a great 
variety of enactments relating to water in the several provinces and municipal districts; 
but as the water available for private use has been almost all appropriated, there is now 
little ground for litigation as to new diversions. Public rights are jealously guarded; a 
land-owner near the head of a stream may not deprive a land-owner lower down of his 


share. Unless he can obtain an official authority, he can use no water that is not derived 
from springs upon his own property. The chief measures of water are the sulco, which 
is equivalent to a flow of 0-23 cubic feet per second; the naranja, which is one-third of a 
sulco; and the paja, which is equal to 0-00053 cubic feet per second. In the city of 
Mexico and other important municipalities the paja is the unit of measurement nominally 
employed. Law suits relating to the use of water are not uncommon; but nevertheless 
the law, with all its defects, appears to be fairly comprehended and obeyed. In what 
were Mexican provinces, California, Arizona, and New Mexico, the practice of irriga- 
tion was established, though on a very small scale, before their annexation to the United 
States, and has since developed to a considerable degree on the same lines, the only 
cardinal principle recognized being that of one appropriator over another in the order 
of priority of use, the issue of Mexican grants and the wholesale incorporation of English 
common law having combined to confuse the legal position of irrigation. 


In all matters relating to irrigation the knowledge of what is to be avoided is of equal 
value with the knowledge of what is worthy of imitation, and this is particularly the 
case in regard to irrigation law. The enactments which have ; proved advantageous 1 
and their particular deficiences, are both worthy of close attention. As the laws of 
Colorado are by far the most successful, they may be fairly allotted the first place. 
By the constitution of this State all streams within its boundaries were declared to be 
public property. By this one declaration a thousand and one sources of contention as 
to riparian rights were altogether closed. By special enactment it next provided for 
the proving and registry of every water claim. These were allowed by the courts in 
their order of priority, and to the amount of water which had been actually used. 
When these points had been adjudicated upon the claims were then published as 
rights. The consent of the State engineer was required before the issue of any further 
rights. Under a further provision the national value of irrigation was recognized as in 
Mexico by the granting of a general power to any person to obtain an easement for his 
canal over his neighbor's land upon payment of compensation. Twenty-six water 
districts w T ere defined according to the natural areas of drainage and suppply, and a 
water-master for each was appointed, whose duty it is to decide disputes between ap- 
propriators and supervise the general distribution from a particular stream. By these 
simple means a host of difficulties and complexities were escaped, permanence was given 
to existing works, and encouragement offered for the construction of new works. It is 
not surprising, therefore, that in mileage of canals or acreage irrigated, Colorado more 
than doubles any other State, or that its works are the greatest and most permanent, 
and are most rapidly extending. The Territory of Utah has shown its appreciation of 
such results by copying as closely as convenient the legislation of Colorado. Its pow- 
erful church government has proved an invaluable administrative, judicial, and organ- 
izing agency. In California a move has been attempted, and much less achieved. In 
that State there is no constitutional or statutory provision that the waters shall be pub- 
lic property, but the common law of England has been incorporated in the civil code of 
the State, so far as it is not repugnant to or inconsistent with the Constitution of the 
United States, or the constitution or laws of this State (section 4468); as a consequence 
the doctrine of the right of a riparian proprietor to receive from the riparian proprietor 
above, and his obligations to deliver to the riparian proprietor below the water of the 
stream upon which his land abuts undiminished in quantity and unimpaired in quality 
has been revived. 


The irrigation area in America stretches from the snows of Colorado to the perpetual 
sunshine of Mexico, and from the shores of the Pacific to the valley of the Mississippi, 
embracing as great a variety of climate as is to be found in the whole of Australia. Over 
the whole of this great surface are scattered patches of irrigated land, and nowhere, 
north or south, east or west, does there appear to be any relinquishment of irrigation on 
account of climatic conditions. It is needless to add that, compared with the whole ex- 
tent of this territory, the irrigated area is infinitesimal, but the fact stands that the high 
plains of Colorado, 5,000 feet above the sea, the bleak prairies of Kansas, the sandy waste 
of California at the sea-level, or the arid valleys of the Mexican plateau, 7,000 feet above- 
it and within the tropical zone, are all susceptible of irrigation. The only want is want 
of water. Climate limits the Colorado farmer to a short season of one hundred days, while 
in Los Angeles or Leon cultivation is carried on all the year round. Climate determines 
the class of products that can be profitably raised, and temperature of course affects the 
quantity of water necessary to be used. 



Bainfall. — The arid area of the United States, by the terms of Major Powell's defini- 
tion, includes only lands where the rainfall is under 20 inches per annum. Over the 
great belt in which irrigation has so far had its chief development the record for a series 
of years gives but little more than half that quantity, so that 10 to 12 inches may be 
taken as a fair average, though the extremes show a much wider variation. In Northern 
California and among the mountains to the east the rainfall rises to 40 inches, while in 
the deserts of Southern California it Jails to 4 inches. In Western Kansas the fall not 
infrequently reaches 20 inches, but this is so irregular that the fanner who relies solely 
upon a natural supply loses more by the dry seasons than he can make in those which 
are more propitious. The question as to whether settlement increases the rainfall in the 
West as it has increased it in the Mississippi Valley is still undetermined, for though 
popular opinion is decidedly in the affirmative, the State engineer of Colorado points out 
that official records so far do not support the assertion. The exceptions to this are that 
Salt Lake, Utah, appears to be steadily gaining in depth and that dew is now observed 
at Greely, in Northern Colorado, a phenomenon quite unknown until irrigation had been 
practiced for some years. Nor does the mere amount of rainfall indicate sufficiently the 
necessity for an artificial supply of water unless also the seasons in which it falls are 
taken into account. In parts of Dakota and Minnesota, where the rainfall only averages 
about 20 inches, dry farming is carried on, while in districts of Texas, where the figures 
are as high, it would be impossible to obtain the same results without irrigation. 

The explanation is that in Dakota nearly 75 per cent, of the rain falls in the season 
when the farmer needs' it as against about 50 per cent, in Texas. Indeed a gradation may 
be observed in this scale from north to south, siuce in Kansas some 65 per cent, of the rain 
falls in the spring and summer, while in the extreme south, as at San Diego, only hall of 
the whole rainfall of 9 inches falls in the spring, and is consequently useless for agriculture. 
There is some irrigation in Dakota, as also in Iowa and Wyoming, but not nearly so 
much as in the States to the southward, where even if the rainfall were as high its dis- 
tribution would render it insufficient. The quantity of water needed is also affected by 
temperature, for the higher it reaches the more water is demanded. The loss by evap- 
oration has not yet been determined for the several States, but it is stated that in very 
arid tracts it rises to over 60 inches per annum. The fact that irrigation is resorted to 
under such conditions should be borne in mind when we consider the wisdom of se- 
curing an artificial supply in places' where the yearly fall is often sufficient. 

Elvers.- — That great backbone of the North American continent, the Rocky Mountains, 
traverses, with its companion, the Sierra Nevada, the whole of the Southwest, pouring 
from its snow-fields permanent streams in greater profusion than Victoria possesses. They 
rush from the rocky gorges out into the open country, running often bank high, and thus 
facilitating the diversion of their waters over the surrounding lands. But the majority 
of them are small, and where the supply is one peculiarity, of the utmost value in irri- 
gation, is that they run along the ridges of the plain, while the country slopes away 
from their banks. In the south the rivers which supply the chief settlements are very 
shallow, and run in broad, sandy beds, often changing their course. The States have, 
as we have, streams which are a chain of pools for one half the year, and often a torrent 
during the other half, while with them the melting of the snow supplies the water in 
volumes, as in the Murray, just when it is most required. 

In Colorado the San Luis and Saguache dissipate themselves in the plains, while in 
Southern California the Kern, in Utah the Jordan, and in Nevada the Carson, Truckee, 
and Humboldt terminate in lakes which have no outlet, thus furnishing parallels to the 
Wimmera, Richardson, and Dumnunkle of our own colony. One feature of many 
American streams, especially of those in sandy beds, is that they lose a great quantity 
of their flow by soakage, which in some cases returns to them by the same means. It 
has been observed of some rivers in New Mexico, as in Italy of some tributaries of the 
Po, that the stream tapped by a large irrigating ditch and robbed of a considerable 
share of its flood, regains it all again a few miles lower down. It has been found also 
that old river-beds still carry a flow underground, and that some running rivers have 
but a fraction of their streams above ground. In California sometimes as much as 
two-thirds of a stream has been found below its bed, and consequently what are called 
submerged or subsoil dams have been occasionally employed with great success, as in the 
Santiago Valley and at Downey, California, to arrest these escapes and bring the whole 
body of water to the surface. Another characteristic of American rivers is that no mat- 
ter how clear the water may appear it almost invariably carries with it a sediment, which 
is in the majority of cases a valuable fertilizer. There are rivers, such as the King's 
River, California, which are said to carry no silt, and yet to fertilize the land, in which 
case it is to be presumed that the water acts as a solvent, disintegrating the coarser 
particles of the soil and preparing the fertilizing elements for absorption in plant growth. 


The topography of this State, California, has been especially favorable to small 
schemes, and has induced the farmer, by its opportunities of obtaining water when he 
most, needs it at a minimum of labor and expense, to commence experiments on his own 

Springs and wells. — In the matter of the supply obtained from underground, Ameri- 
can experience is, on the whole, encouraging. In the Los Angeles and San Bernardino 
Counties, California, there are springs or springy marshes called cienagas which irrigate 
from 20 to 400 acres each, and together supply an area of 7,000 acres of cultivated 
lands. Such springs are an important source of supply in Italy, where they are styled 
fontanili. Here some are so charged with mineral matter as to be unfit for use and 
have usually so small a flow as to be employed for orchard irrigation only. At San 
Gabriel, California, a vineyard 1,200 acres in extent is supplied solely by springs or 
artesian wells, of which there are twenty-one on the estate, ranging from 75 to 100 feet 
deep. In Southern California, altogether there are calculated to be one thousand of these 
wells, varying in depth from 200 to 550 feet; some of them have a flow of 1.7 cubic feet 
per second, and suffice for the irrigation of small farms.. On one estate there are fif- 
teen of an average depth of 200 feet, yielding water at the rate of 2.2 cubic feet per 
second. Artesian water has been, if anything, rather dearer than canal water in Cali- 
fornia, but has the advantage of being at a higher temperature than snow-fed streams. 

In Santa Clara County, California, there is an artesian tract yielding 2,000,000 gallons 
every twenty-four hours, but the greatest supply from such sources is at Denver, Colorado, 
where a stream of 2,880,000 gallons per day is derived from eighty wells, which range 
from 300 feet to 900 feet deep. In sinking these the " club- churn " drills have been 
found cheaper and quicker than the diamond drill, sinking 45 feet in twelve hours, as 
against 15 feet with the diamond drill, or 90 feet in twenty-four hours, as against 35 
feet. When artesian water is used the wells are, where possible, put down upon the 
highest part of the farm from which the water can be most easily distributed; when 
the water is raised by means of a windmill from an ordinary well, which is usually upon 
low ground, it is delivered into a light wooden flume, which conveys it into a reservoir 
on some commanding spot. In California, and especially at Florin, water is raised from 
depths of 10 to 20 feet in a steady stream by means of windmills, one of which, as a 
rule, can supply 2 to 3 acres of land with water. Further south the water is raised 
from more than twice this depth by the same means. In most cases the water is bored 
for and struck, but does not rise to the surface, the windmill being employed to lift it 
the extra distance. If water were found without boring at 10 feet deep, irrigation for 
vines or lucern would be considered surperfluous. The utilization of such small quanti- 
ties of water as can be obtained by these means attests the value set upon any supply, 
however minute. Though the streams of the West are considerable in number, they are 
small and far between in almost every district in which irrigation is necessary. There 
are most extensive areas without appreciable rainfall, without rivers, and without 
springs. The irrigable area is narrow and widely distributed, occurring, except in Col- 
orado and Kansas, in comparatively small allotments. 


It is next desirable to consider the means by which water is diverted and the methods 
of its application so as to share any knowledge which Americans possess in these direc- 
tions. To comprehend the nature of their works it is desirable to bear in mind their 
history, for they have rarely been the result of one foreseen plan, but have, as a rule, 
been brought into their present condition piecemeal. It must be remembered that they 
are not State works, and that in many cases they were not constructed by companies or 
capitalists, but by the farmers themselves, either singly or banded together. On the 
faith, perhaps, of a good season the settler had taken up land and after his crop was in had 
seen himself in danger of losing it, or else in sheer desperation he had settled without 
expecting a rainfall and determined to try the Mexican custom of flooding his fields. 
In either case his necessity has been the same. He must iiave water or be ruined. If 
it did not fall from the clouds he has asked himself why it should not prove as efficient 
if obtained from the nearest stream. With this pressure upon him he has not waited to 
inquire into his legal rights or seek for engineering skill or hold public meetings. He 
has hitched his team and with plow and spade run a rough ditch to the river bank. By 
cutting this through, and if necessary throwing up a slight wing-dam to turn the water 
in, he has been able to soak his fields, save his crop, and probably get half as much again 
as an ordinary yield. Stirred by this gain, and by a strong sense of successiul self-reli- 
ance, he has made his work permanent. A neighbor has joined him in enlarging the 
ditch, and then shared in its benefits. Others have been encouraged to face the same 
task. Where several were interested they have joined their forces, apportioned the 
work, and each carried out his share or paid for its being carried out for him. By these 


means a great number of so-called works have been constructed, and, learning from 
them,the small capitalist and the large capitalist have followed suit and have built canals 
to supply water for use upon their own lands or upon lands which they wish to let or 
sell, or upon the lands of others to whom they intend to dispose of the water they have 

These works have been built often without engineers, almost always without plans, 
and their defects are patent. The weir head-gate or wing-dam, as the case may be, has 
been carried away several times, and has probably cost more to replace than a substantial 
structure might have cost. Then the easiest courses for the ditches have been chosen, 
so that, instead of running on high land, they have even followed old water-courses, and 
thus have commanded from the canal a much smaller area and more imperfectly than 
they should have done. There have sometimes been no surveys, and as a consequence 
curves have been too sharp and grades too steep, so that ditches gradually destroy them- 
selves, cutting out their own banks and filling in their beds. Or, perhaps, an opposite 
fault has been committed, and there has not been current enough to keep down the 
water weeds which spring up in the channel and choke it. 

Then, again, the natural result of individual effort of this kind has been that several 
canals have been built where only one was necessary. For instance, there are five 
ditches supplying the Mussel Slough district, California, where one would carry all the 
water with far less loss in the carriage. There are thirty-two canals taken out of the 
Kern River, where eight would have been abundant; and at Fresno half a dozen where 
two would have sufficed. What loss this involves may be estimated from a calculation 
of the State engineer, who, after a careful examination of two of these canals, finds that 
their combined stream could have been carried in one channel at a saving of 20 per 
cent, of the water conveyed. The engineering defects of such works are palpable, and 
are not disputed or disguised. At the same time it would be a mistake to condemn them 
out of hand. At least they have served their purpose for a time — it maybe wastefully, 
but the waste could not have been prevented. Crop after crop has been saved — the 
farmer has kept his land, has built his house, and cultivated his plot comfortably by 
their means. If he now possesses the knowledge needed to irrigate and build ditches, 
and has the money in his pocket to enable him to use his knowledge, he owes it all to 
these first rude efforts of his by which he put the water upon his fields cheaply and with- 
out delay. 

Everywhere, however, engineering work is characterized by extreme simplicity and 
economy; it is rarely massive and never ornamental. There is no attempt at finish, but 
only at efficiency. Water- works in the West are like railways, often made to pay for 
their own construction. At first just enough work is done to enable them to yield a 
return, and then additions are made from time to time, until at last they are brought 
into a condition of stability. In places where it is cheaper to build a new weir or wing- 
dam of brush and sand every year than to pay interest upon the sum required for a per- 
manent structure the temporary work is invariably resorted to. 

It is rare also that any work is built strongly enough to endure all contingencies. 
The practice is to put up a weir that will stand in ordinary seasons, foreseeing that it 
will be swept away by the first of the heavy floods which occur periodically every few 

There are many ingenious engineering devices for decreasing expenses, but this prin- 
ciple of risk to save interest governs all. American engineers know that these works are 
not permanent when they build them. As a rule they have the professional dislike of 
building temporary works, and, not having to provide the funds, prefer structures that 
will prove a lasting credit to them; but shrewd capitalists have tested the principle in 
practice, and they find it pays to resort in many cases to these slighter works. 


Among the illustrations of this combination of risk with very clever engineering there 
are none better than those to be found at Bakersfield, where Mr. James, as engineer for 
Messrs. Haggin aad Carr, has had a large field for the display of his ability. Timber is 
cheap in America, and California is favored with the redwood, which is soft, easily 
worked, and yet durable; consequently it is almost wholly employed by Mr. James upon 
his 250 miles of canal. His main gates cost from £40 to £60, while his head-gates, con- 
trolling a flow of 30 feet or 40 feet of water 3 or 4 feet deep, are erected for £6C0. A 
wooden weir in the Callaway Canal, costing only £2,600, is 700 feet long, can be put in 
place in a couple of hours, and is ingeniously arranged so that its superstructure is rap- 
idly removable. Many of the contrivances employed on these ranches are well worthy 
of imitation wherever shallow streams are to be dealt with in a level country. The com- 
bination of weir and bridge in the same wooden structure is another feature of these 
works well worth the attention of local governing bodies, one of these, 360 feet long, 20 


feet wide, raising the water 5 feet, and reckoned to have a life of at least twenty years, 
being! mi ] t for less than £2, 000. 

In the streams of Southern California, which are of no great depth as a rule, brush- 
work is generally used for weirs and dams, sometimes being loaded with sand-boxes or 
sand-bags or protected with fascines, loaded down with cobble-stones. Thus the San 
Joaquin and King's River Canal, California, has such a wing-dam, 350 feet long, as has 
the Larimer and Weld Canal, Colorado, where the dam is 177 feet long and 5 feet 8 
inches high. .Examples of this class of construction on a great scale, though not for irri- 
gation, may be found in the Yuba and Bear Rivers, where two dams may be seen, one 
of them 8,900 feet long, and the other 5,875 feet long, ranging from 3 feet to 15 feet in 
height, and from 60 feet to 120 feet in width. Perhaps the largest' irrigation head-work 
in this style is that of the Eureka Canal, in Kansas, which is 1,500 feet long and 8 feet 
high, supported by a dyke a mile long on the south side of the river, and diverting 5 
feet of water through a cut in the banks of the Arkansas, 16 feet deep, into a canal 28 
feet broad at the bed and 80 miles in length. The dimensions of these works, together 
with the stability of such head-gates as that upon the 76 canal, Fresno, California, which 
is also a bridge of 100 feet long and 20 feet wide, and raises the water 5 feet at a cost of 
£1,000, and the ingenuity of the head-gate of the Chowchilla Canal, resting upon a 
quicksand, as described in the engineer's report, are evidence enough of the ability 
which is displayed in many works. In Northern California there are both dams and 
weirs, of great height and excellent simplicity of structure, erected for mining pur- 
poses, and now, in a few cases and on a small scale, utilized for irrigation as well as 
motive power. For the most substantial of all head-works, however, we must look to 

There are some sinall stone-weirs in the South, and some fine pieces of masonry work 
of great antiquity in Mexico, but none of these are liable to such enormous strain as is 
met with in the wild canons of the Rocky Mountains. The South Platte Weir, for in- 
stance, is 120 feet long from the cliff on the one side to its waste-gate of solid masonry, 
24 feet wide, on the other, raising the water 14 feet by means of a frame- work of 12 by 
12 timbers bolted into the bed-rock, filled with stones and planked on the face with six- 
inch boards. The apron extends 54 feet up stream and 18 feet below the weir, the water 
having a perpendicular fall. The waste-gate and off-take are both protected by substan- 
tial "booms " or " grids," the latter 72 feet long, built of 12 by 12 timbers. These 
admit the water through bars below the surface and protect the work from the trunks 
of trees, which are carried down with great force when the stream is high. These 
" booms " are in frequent use in Colorado, and are worthy of note for application upon 
the many Australian streams in which heavy floods invariably whirl along with them 
great quantities of timber with a force that would destroy an unprotected structure as 
speedily as a battering-ram. The weir across the North Poudre endures even fiercer 
floods, and is more massive in structure, stretching 160 feet across a rugged canon, from 
wall to wall in the form of an arch, bending up stream, and composed of strong cribs 
filled with stones; it raises the water 26 feet into its flumes. The lower face consists of 
three steps pitched with stones, which are so keyed in each other that the pressure upon 
them only serves to wedge them more firmly in. As it has stood two or three severe 
floods without sustaining any damage it may be considered a success, more especially as 
though situated in an out-of-the-way district over 20 miles from the nearest station, and 
a mile up an almost inaccessible gorge, its cost was less than £2,000. It was consid- 
ered worthy of being made the chief subject of a special paper read before the Institu- 
tion of Civil Engineers in London. 

Enough has been said here to indicate the character of the chief classes of head-works, 
of which there are a great variety in each State. The minor works, such as drops, gates, 
or regulators, are usually of wood, and of simple design. In the South Platte Canal a 
much superior gate may be seen, the off- take from the main canal being by means of an 
earthenware pipe set in stones, beyond which is the usual gate and a measuring weir. 
The head-gates, however, include but a small part of the works undertaken in order to 
secure a supply of water. There is a prevalent idea that in America the streams only 
require to be touched with a spade to pour themselves upon the farmers' sown lands. 
That such is not always the case in Colorado may be seen from the fact that the South 
Platte Weir referred to above, built at a cost of £4,000, serves to raise the water to the 
level of a tunnel 600 long, 20 feet wide, and 12 feet high, hewn through the solid rock, at 
an outlay of £12, 000, emptying its tide into a wooden flume 2, 640 feet long, 28 feet 
wide, and 7 feet deep, which cost nearly £20,000, and is supplemented further on by 
other wooden flumes along the 83 miles for which this artificial river has been excavated 
across the plains. The North Poudre Canal has about a mile of wooden flumes, and 
three tunnels, one of them 900 feet long, necessitating an outlay of £10,000 for its first 
mile before it touches the open country, through which it flows for 50 miles. Nor is 
expenditure of this character limited to great canals supplying large areas. The price 


that can be paid for water may be better understood by noting what the outlay is upon 
small areas. 

At Pasadena, where there are but 1,500 acres to supply, the water is carried from the weir 
by a flume 700 feet long into an iron pipe 3 mileslong, from 13 inches to 11 inches in diameter, 
to a reservoir with a capacity of 3, 000, 000 gallons, partly rock- walled and partly cemented. 
From this another iron pipe conveys it to the land to be irrigated, while a lower portion 
is supplied from another source by a pump throwing 30,000 gallons an hour into another 
500,000-gallon reservoir, from which it is distributed by a mile and a half more of iron 
piping. The total cost of these works is given as £8, 000. The Lake Vineyard Company to 
the east have a concrete ditch 17,000 feet long and a quantity of iron piping simply to water 
their own vines. The supply to the neighboring colony of Anaheim is carried in a flume 
6,970 feet in length. At Redlands there are 6 miles of iron piping 1 foot in diameter, 
carrying 5 cubic feet of water per second from the^weir to the 2,400 acres which it is in- 
tended to irrigate, upon which there are stand-pipes and iron measuring weirs to every 
allotment. At Ontario, with its 8,000 acres, the arrangements are equally perfect, a 
large portion of its supply being obtained by a tunnel nearly 3,000 feet long, upon which 
£10,000 have been spent. An illustration of another class of water-works on a great 
scale may be seen among the mountains of Nevada, where there are wooden flumes from 
50 to 80 miles in length, down which sawn timber is floated from the forests among the 
hills. The distance which great streams of water have to be carried before they can be 
utilized may be judged from a few illustrations. 

The Dodge City Canal, Kansas, isOOmiles long and 50 feet wide; the San Joaquin and 
King's River Canal, California, 78 miles long and 68 feet wide; the South Platte, Colo- 
rado, is to stretch 160 miles when completed; while the Great Eastern, Kansas; the 76 
Canal, Fresno, California; the Larimerand Weld, Colorado; the Arizona Canal, Arizona, all 
range from 40 to 60 miles in length, with a breadth of over 30 feet. In considering the 
length of these canals, it should be remembered that some of them have been carried 
much farther than the natural circumstances required, passing irrigable lands in their 
course just as rich as those they reach beyond, but which are unsupplied because they 
do not belong to the proprietor of the ditch. The area of irrigable land under canals of 
these dimensions amounts often to from 50, 000 acres to 250, 000 acres each, but from none as 
yet is more than the smaller quantity under cultivation. In Utah , settlements have been 
abandoned because they were located too far from the streams supply ing them. The higher 
up stream an off-take of a canal is, and the shorter the dis tan ce_ water is carried to land, 
the less the loss by soakage. The more favorably situated flats, however, usually lie 
farther down stream, and as these are always the first to be irrigated it becomes necessary 
for the later settler to take up higher ground, to water which he must go farther up the 
river. There is thus a tendency for the canals to become longer as the country is taken 
up. It is unnecessary to describe their construction, for they are merely ditches of sizes 
and grades varying according to the soil in which they are cut and the water they have 
to carry, which is from 1 cubic foot to 2,000 cubic feet per second. The average cost of 
a 30-foot canal is reckoned in ordinary country at from £200 to £300 per mile by Colo- 
rado engineers. The average grades chosen are from 1 to 3 feet per mile; the banks, in 
most places, being on the slope of 4 or 5 to 1. The breadth is adjusted so as to equalize 
the discharge, being greatest where the grade is least. 

The amount of money which private persons have invested in these works shows that 
the prospects of profit are tempting. The San Joaquin Canal represents in direct and in- 
direct outlay £260,000; the Dodge City, £160,000; the South Platte, £150,000; the 
Arizona, £100,000; the North Poudre, £50,000, and the City Ditch, at Salt Lake, £45,000. 
Several of these are built by companies which have other canals of considerable size 
and land purchases made in connection with them, in which even larger sums are sunk. 
Two companies in Colorado control between them nearly 500 miles of main canals, which 
together with the land they were constructed to water, represent an outlay of more than 
half a million sterling. As far as can be judged there are no apprehensions entertained 
as to the future of such investments; their proprietors appear satisfied with their returns 
up to the present time, and not unwilling to enter upon extensions of their existing 
enterprises. Still the figures, even now, should make it plain that irrigation in America 
is not the simple matter it has been su pposed, but one that taxes the capital and enter- 
prise of even a speculative people. 



Next to head works, the most important feature is the provision of storage, by means of 
which the surplus of winter rains or spring floods may be retained for use in time of 
need. The surveys made in California and Colorado so far have discovered many nat- 
ural depressions of no great extent, but still valuable in connection with irrigation 
schemes. In Los Angeles County are to be found a number of reservoirs already built, 


some of them cemented; others, such as those of the Lake Vineyard Association, com- 
posed of the natural soil. Most of these are small, the largest containing 21 , 000, 000 gallons. 
The cost of excavation here was from 7s. 6d. to 12s. 6d. per thousand cubic feet of storage. 
In New Mexico, by means of a series of earthen dams, one farmer has created seven reser- 
voirs, from which he can command, with a reserve supply, some 2,000 acres of his estate. 
In Colorado the mountainous character of the country has been favorable to the con- 
struction of similar works, the State engineer recording a number of them at 6 feet to 35 
feet deep and 10 acres to 500 acres in extent. The largest is that in connection with the 
Big Thompson Canal, which covers 427.35 acres to a depth of 35.8 feet, of which 21.8 
feet is available, and is expected to water 12,000 acres. A chain of such reservoirs is 
being added to the North Poudre works previously referred to. But by far the greatest of 
these reservoirs is situated in the Bear Valley above Riverside and Redlands, Calaifornia, 
where, by means of a wall of masonry 300 feet long and 60 feet high, 8,000,000,000 gallons, 
or mere than the contents of the Yan Yean when full, are preserved, owing to exceptional 
natural advantages, at a cost of £12,000. This will give a continuous stream of 150 
cubic feet per second for 100 days, which, on the scale of supply adopted at Redlands, 
should water at least 50,000 acres. A still larger reservoir is projected in Southeastern 
Colorado, where water sufficient to supply 100,000 acres is to be stored, in connection with 
a canal 80 feet wide, 7 feet deep, and capable, with the reservoir, of irrigating twice that 


The implements themselves are various, and a considerable portion of the saving is 
made in the knowledge when to use one and when to replace it by another. To begin 
with the simplest kind of construction, that of field. ditching, the farmer does this, as a 
rule, with his plow, with which he can easily run a ditch of a few inches capacity across 
the field. If he intends to widen it while keeping it shallow he errploys the ditch plow, 
which consists of a blade suspended behind the share so as to push the earth, which it 
cuts to one side. In many soils this is found to be an invaluable implement. When 
the work is more roughly done, what is known as a V scraper is brought into play. 
This varies from a mere log of wood with a couple of old spade heads nailed in Iront, 
forming a sharp prow, which is its rudest form, to a triangle some 6 feet wide at its 
wooden base, from which proceed two long iron blades forming the acute angle. Its 
use is always the same. It is drawn by horses and steadied by the driver's weight, so as 
to push the earth outward from a simple plow furrow or series of furrows, and thus 
form a ditch. When this is over 6 feet in width a "side-wiper" is generally substi- 
tuted, which is a long iron blade, lowered from a frame which rests upon four wheels, 
so that when drawn by a powerful team it slants the plowed soil to one side. In 
light soils and for large ditches an elaborate machine is used, which not only plows 
the earth but takes it up and shoots it out upon the banks, a distance of 10 or 12 feet, 
to either side, at the rate of from 600 to 1,000 cubic yards per day. 

But the implement most in use for operations of any extent is the iron "scraper," 
which is found in many forms, sometimes runs sledgewise, sometimes upon wheels, and 
ingeniously fitted so as to be tilted without effort. For a long pull wheels are con- 
sidered best, and for steep banks runners have the preference, but scoops are preferred 
without either for sandy soil. The kind of soil to be moved and worked upon and the 
length of haul are always taken into account in determining the class of scoop used. 
In constructing a deep canal a haul of 1 foot upward is reckoned the equivalent 
of 50 feet on the level, and with an experienced driver and a team of two horses or 
mules a scoop is expected to remove from 80 to 120 yards per day. Sometimes in rail- 
way work one man is told off to every four teams to fill the scoops, but in the majority 
of cases the driver does this himself. There is another implement known as the buck 
scraper, which for ordinary farming use in light soils and in practiced hands accom- 
plishes remarkable results. It consists of a strong piece of 2-inch timber, from 6 feet to 
9 feet long and 1 foot 3 inches high, with a 6-inch steel plate along its face projecting 
2 inches below its lower edge, and is strengthened with cross-pieces at the back, where 
there is a projecting arm, upon which the driver stands. Like the ordinary scraper, it is 
also found on wheels and runners and in many patterns, and is drawn by a pair of 
horses. Instead of taking up the earth as the scoop does, it pushes the soil before it, 
and when under good command does such work as check-making, ditch excavating, or 
field leveling, in sandy soils, with marvelous rapidity. Work with the scoop costs, as 
a rule, from M. to 6d. per cubic yard; when the cost reaches 9d. it is considered time 
to set it aside. 

With the buck scraper work has been done in favorable localities as low as 2d, and 
even a penny, per cubic yard; and it is astonishing to note the number of uses to 
which this simple implement is successfully applied. Where the leveling of fields is 
difficult a machine is sometimes used which cuts off the tops of mounds or ridges and 


drops the stuff in the first hollow over which it passes. The windmills for raising water 
from wells have been already alluded to as have the boring machines at Denver. 
Where the water is to be raised from a running stream a wheel is employed turned by 
the current, raising little bucketsful and pouring them into a wooden fiume from 12 
feet to 20 feet high. Many little contrivances, such as a movable iron gate or "Ta- 
pon," for diverting water at any point from field ditches, and shaped like a railway 
disk, are to be met with. 


In this connection it may be well to notice the variety of pipes employed for water 
supply and likely to be more employed as water becomes scarcer and fruit-raising in- 
creases. Where suitable material is at hand it is not uncommon to find ditches, as at 
Lugonia, California, roughly paved for 6 or 7 miles, thus saving one-third of the water pre- 
viously lost in this distance. Again, the South Fork ditch, from the Santa Ana, is made 
in a similar way, by neatly-fitting cobblestones together, and with an equally satisfact- 
ory result. Near Pasadena, as already mentioned, there is a concrete ditch more than 
5 miles in length. This mode of ditching, however, is not always possible, and, where 
such an outlay can be faced, it is generally advisable to use pipes. The greater profits 
realized from fruit-growing encourage such an expenditure, by means of which a very 
small stream can be made to cover a comparatively large area. 

Pipes can either be employed to bring water to land upon which it is to be used or 
they can also be carried on so as to distribute the supply throughout the cultivated area. 
This latter process, known as subirrigation, w^ll be described at a later stage. When 
it is practiced a simple machine is generally used, by means of which a cement pipe is 
made in the ground and in position, thus saving the risk of transportation and some 
cost of labor. The scale on which this has been attempted is not as yet sufficient to 
demonstrate its universal efficiency. For main channels a concrete pipe, cheaper than 
earthenware piping, is largely in use in the ' ' colonies ' ' of Southern California, as at 
Ontario and Pasadena, where it has proved durable and serviceable under low pressure. 
In the San Demas CaTion there are 3 miles of this pipe, 5 inches in interior diameter, 
carried along the face of a cliff. Its most formidable rivals have been a riveted and 
asphalted pipe and a light laminated pipe, both of wrought iron, the latter made by 
telescoping one sheet-iron pipe into another, when submerged in asphalt and tar, and 
thus filling up the small space between them with the mixture. As a 4-inch pipe or 
this pattern is supplied for practically the same price as that in cement, and has proved 
itself capable of withstanding great pressure, the preference, on the whole, appears to be 
given to the iron. Where it is found, as in Utah, that a ditch, 3 feet deep, which is 20 
feet wide for the first 23 miles of its course, can in the next 2 miles carry all that is 
left of its stream in a width of 12 feet, it becomes plain that where water is valuable 
there is a fair margin to pay for piping. 


Flooding. — The earliest, easiest, simplest, and cheapest method of irrigation is by flood- 
ing. The water is then directed so as to cover the whole area under cultivation to a depth 
varying according to the crop and the quality of the soil. This plan is the most wasteful 
of water, but cannot be avoided in the cultivation of cereals. The only work it in- 
volves in the field is that necessary to permit an even flow of water. With a regular slope 
this work is sometimes trifling, but as a rule some preliminary outlay is required for 
leveling inequalities, or else providing for the equal distribution of the stream from 
points of vantage. When the fall is slight, shallow ditches are run in Colorado from 50 
feet to 100 feet apart in the direction of the fall; when the land is steeper they are car- 
ried diagonally to the slope, or are made to wind around it, and from these, by throw- 
ing up little dams from point to point, the whole field is inexpensively flooded. When 
the fall is still greater and the surface irregular ridges are thrown up along the contour 
lines of the land, marking it off into plots called ' ' checks, ' ' on the whole of the interior 
of which water will readily and rapidly reach an equal depth. When one plot is cov- 
ered the check is broken and the water admitted so as in the same way to cover the 
next plot. 

The ridges or " levees" must have rounded crests and easy slopes, or else they inter- 
fere with the use of farming machinery, such as the stripper. By means of diagonal 
furrows and checks remarkable results are obtained, even in very broken country. By 
their means it is claimed that in Colorado one man can irrigate 25 acres per day. Where 
checks have not been used upon ground with an acute incline, the water has soon worn 
deep channels through it, utterly ruining it for agricultural purposes; or again, where 
the water has been allowed to flow too freely the consequence has been that all the fer- 
tilizing elements of the soil have been washed away. In flooding the aim is, therefore, 



to put no more water upon the land than it will at once and equally absorb or can part 
with without creating a current sufficient to carry off sediment. The neglect of these 
precautions has caused the abandonment of several settlements made in Utah before the 
art of irrigation was properly understood. 

In Southern California checks are employed even more successfully than in Colorado, 
the levees being built by buckscrapers, so as to prepare large areas for crop at 2d. per 
cubic yard of material moved, or 6s. per acre. 

The lands there are not so rolling as in the northern uplands, where the average cost 
of preparing land for irrigation is from 8s. to 16s. per acre. As much higher estimates 
have been given in Victoria, it should be noted that the higher .price, is for country 
more difficult than the average of our northern plains. It would be possible, by grad- 
ing and terracing, to water very steep slopes, but the labor would not be paid for by 
any cereals that could be raised. Both the depth and number of floodings are varied 
according to soil and crop. With a clay soil the waterings are light and frequent, 
while with a sandier quality they are heavier and rarer. Much, too, depends upon the 
distance and nature of the subsoil. There is considerable uncertainty with regard to 
the measurements given for flooding. It is sometimes placed as low as will give a depth 
of 2 or 3 inches, and at other times as high as from 5 inches to 10 inches at a single 
watering. There are cases in which as many feet have been used. The number of 
waterings is best determined by the crop itself, and the most skillful irrigators are 
those who study its needs and take care to supply them without giving an excess of 
water. The quantity, used alters, therefore, from season to season, so that only an 
average can be given. 

In Colorado, where water is used more lavishly than in any other State, some good 
iudges have agreed that an average of 14 inches should be ample, and this is certainly 
not too low. Where the soil is liable to become hard, and will retain moisture, wheat is 
often grown with two floodings, one before the ground is ploughed, and the other when 
it is approaching the ear. When two waterings are given after sowing, one is when the 
wheat commences to "tiller," and the other when it reaches the milky stage. Where 
irrigation does not precede the ploughing, it is postponed as long after the appearance ot 
the crop as possible. Sometimes wheat has three, or even as many as four, floodings; but 
this is unusual, as overwatering occasions "rust." Experience shows that it is easy to 
exceed the quantity required by the crop, and that every excess is injurious. Extrava- 
gance is the common fault, so much so that the most successful irrigators are invariably 
those who use the least water. The less water, indeed, with which grain can be brought 
to maturity, the finer the yield. 

Furrows. — Peas and potatoes are not irrigated by flooding, but from furrows 4 feet 
to 10 feet apart, and this is found the more economical and more successsul system for 
vines and fruit trees. 

Under the flooding system, the ground, if not protected from the sun, cakes quickly. 
When the water is run down furrows drawn by a plough between the plants, this caking 
is avoided, and the water soaks quietly to the roots. When flooding was practiced in 
orchards it was found to bring the roots to the surface and enfeeble the trees, so that 
they needed frequent waterings. Sometimes the furrows feed a small hole at the foot 
of the tree, from which the water soaks slowly in. When this is done mulching is found 
desirable over the hole to reduce the loss by evaporation. The general rule is to protect 
the trees by small ridges, so that the water does not affect the surface within 3 or 4 feet 
of them. The simple furrow, however, is most generally in use. Oranges are watered 
three or at most four times in summer; vines once, twice, or often not at all after the 
first year or two; and other fruits, according to the caprice of the owner, the necessi- 
ties of the season, and the nature of the soil, one to four times. It is impossible to be 
more exact. An even greater difference, comparatively, in the quantity of water used 
obtains in the furrow irrigation of fruit trees and vines than has been noted in regard to 
cereals. To such an extent does this prevail, that not only do districts differ, but, of 
two neighbors who cultivate the same fruits in contiguous orchards, having exactly the 
same slope and soil, one will use twice or thrice as much water as the other. Judging 
as far as possible from conflicting testimonies, the cardinal principle appears to be just 
the same. To attain the best results the trees must be carefully watched, and supplied 
with only just enough water to keep them in a vigorously healthy condition. 

Another all-important principle, as to which there is no question, and which is testi- 
fied to on every hand, is that the more thoroughly the soil is cultivated, the less water 
it demands — a truth based partly, no doubt, upon the fact that the evaporation from 
hard, unbroken soil is more rapid than from tilled ground, which retains the more thor- 
oughly distributed moisture for a longer period. For the irrigation of cereals, works 
are required on a larger scale proportionately than for fruit; because in the first case the 
water is demanded in greater quantities at particular times, while in the latter the sup- 
ply can be more evenly distributed throughout the year, though of course the irrigating 


season with both is much the same. In the Northern States irrigation is limited, to a 
hundred days, while in the South it can be employed at discretion all the year round. 
In both regions winter and autumn irrigations are growing steadily in favor. Land 
which receives its soaking then needs less in summer, and is found in better condition 
for plowing. It is argued that moisture is more naturally absorbed in that season and 
with greater benelit. Everywhere the verdict of the experienced is that too much water 
is being used, and the outcry against over saturation in summer is but oue of its forms. 

Sub-irrigation. — Irrigation beneath the surface, if not excessive, is considered the most 
perfect method of supplying water to vegetable life., and it has been the aim of many to 
devise a scheme by which this can be done with the greatest economy. The idea is to 
replace soakage from above, by either flooding or furrows, with what is called' "seep- 
age," that is, subterranean and lateral soakage which, to be perfect, should not wet the 
surface. The one advantage possessed by surface over sub-irrigation is that, when care- 
fully managed, irrigation by soakage is a perennial source of fertilization on account of 
the quantity of deposit which is obtained with the water from most streams in certain 
seasons. Irrigation by seepage cannot produce this beneficial effect, but it can avoid the 
dangers of excessive saturation or surface caking, or of washing out the richer elements 
of the soil, aswell as accomplish an enormous saving in the water used. Two difficulties 
have presented themselves to its complete success. The first of these is the tendency of 
the apertures in the pipes to become choked by the roots, which tend to form a mat about 
it. The main difficulty, however, so far rather feared than experienced, is that the con- 
stant seepage of water would have such a solidifying effect upon the soil, closing its pores 
and converting it into an almost impenetrable mass, that it would become necessary after 
some years to break it up to a considerable depth by cultivation. Of this it is too early 
to pronounce, but it certainly appears that sub-irrigation is the hope of most intelligent 
irrigators, because it promises a great economy of water, and the most direct application 
of it to the thirsty tree that it is possible to devise. The average cost of making and 
laying pipes for sub -irrigation is given by an authority at £7 per acre, a sum which the 
owners of land under intense culture could afford to pay. 

Open ditches are wasteful.- -The present practice is the most wasteful that could be de- 
vised. There is waste along all the miles of open canals, both main and secondary, with 
a consequent loss to the owners of from 25 per cent, to 50 per cent, of the stream they 
take in. Sometimes it is even greater; a canal in the San Joaquin Valley, which took in 
90 cubic feet per second at its head, only delivering 14 cubic feet per second on the farms 
28 miles away. Where the canal owner's loss ends, that of the farmer begins. He loses 
all along his laterals tapping the secondary canal, all along his sub-laterals intersecting 
his farm, and, again, all that is not absorbed by the crop over which he pours his periodic 
flood ; besides which has to be added the loss from evaporation. As a matter of fact, [[there- 
fore,- he only receives the benefit of a very small proportion of what he pays for. Some put 
the loss of farmer and canal proprietor together as high as nine-tenths of the water diverted, 
others at three-fourths, and it is rarely calculated at less than the latter figure. There is 
certainly ample room for saving at every turn. In Utah, as in Italy, another economy is 
effected by requiring those entitled to water to take it at night as well as by day, so that, 
instead of the supply running to waste for eight to ten hours out of the twenty- four, the 
whole capacity of the ditch is utilized every minute during the irrigating season. This 
custom has the further advantage that the water is thought to act more favorably upon 
the soil by night than if it were under the burning rays of the sun. The manual labor 
or skill required for controlling water is not great, and it calls for patience and attention 
rather than activity. To see the irrigator, spade in hand, engaged, in a leisurely way, di- 
recting the stream gushing from his ditch, it would scarcely be suspected that upon so 
unimpressive a proceeding the whole future of the orchard in which he is engaged en- 
tirely depended. There seems an incompatibility between causes and effects which asserts 
itself in many ways, so that it becomes an effort to realize that the rude ditches which 
wind their rugged banks across trim fields, or among regular rows of vines or orange- 
trees, are actually the generous source from which all the profusion of foliage and fruit 
is being invisibly fed. 


Part of this incompatibility no doubt arises from the fact that there is something more 
than water conveyed in canals, and that this something more is extremely valuable, 
though usually left out of the calculation. Water of itself can work wonders, but when 
allied with sediment, which in nine cases out of ten appears to consist either of decayed 
vegetable matter or to contain elements that replenish the soils by which it is absorbed, 
the results become multiplied. In France the practice of pouring large bodies of water 
heavily charged with sediment upon inferior lands for the purpose of reclaiming and en- 
riching them is extensively adopted. This is not systematically attempted to the same 
extent in America, though the sandy sage-brush lands of Utah and Nevada have been 
8. Mis. 15- — -14 


turned into rich meadows in the same way; hut it is generally recognized that where irri- 
gation is so controlled as to admit of just as much water being placed upon the land as it 
can drink at a draught, without allowing it either to stand or run away, then the conse- 
quence is invariably a maintained or an increased production. Not only is the crop se^- 
cured, but whether it be grain, root crop, or fruit, the yield is often largely enhanced 
so as to reach, in arid regions or upon poor soils, a yield equal to that obtained upon fertile 
lands enjoying a plentiful rainfall. Farmers' estimates of what this gain actually is differ 
considerably, ranging from 30 to 100 per cent. That there is a gain, and a great gain in 
many instances, no one thinks of disputing, though there may be some looseness in the 
figures quoted concerning it. There seem to be no products of which the crop may not 
be increased by irrigation, and there are none that will not suffer from over-irrigation. 
The richest silty water, instead of having a fertilizing influence, will be fatal if allowed 
either to stagnate or to rush too rapidly through a field. But with this danger pro- 
vided against irrigation may mean fertilization to such an extent as to render any fur- 
ther artificial enrichment of the soil unnecessary. In most parts of the West this bas 
been the only fertilization which has maintained land under years of cropping. 


As a matter of fact there are no drainage works worthy of the name in America, the 
farmer having quietly left the water to settle this problem for itself. Water is al- 
ways valuable in these regions, and what one farmer allows to flow by another is only 
too eager to acquire. Canal proprietors have not found any necessity to spend money 
in making provision for the surplus water which passes their area of supply, as it is gen- 
erally extremely easy to let it find its way into the natural water-courses which run 
at lower levels than the artificial stream. How to get water is the one question of im- 
portance; how to get rid of it has been found in nineteen cases out of twenty only too 
easy. With a deep subsoil or a good fall it seems as if drainage may always be unneces- 
sary, and these aie conditions very frequently met with. There are, however, lands 
comparatively level in which sooner or later it will be required, and there are one or 
two localities in which the need of drainage works is rapidly becoming an imperative 
necessity. Among these by far the most striking illustration is furnished at Fresno, 
Cal., a district in which the same facts are also extremely valuable as indicating the 
change in character of an arid plain submitted to years of extravagant irrigation. Fif- 
teen years ago its sandy soil, sparsely covered by struggling herbage, grassless and tree- 
less for scores of square miles, maintained only a few herds of cattle. There was no sign 
of cultivation within its borders, water could only be obtained by sinking from 40 feet 
to 80 feet, and the rainfall was both irregular and insufficient. The King River, which 
was its one available stream, sometimes carried no more than 500 cubic feet per second, 
and when the first "colony " was established it was stoutly maintained that the whole of 
its waters would not suffice to supply this little plot marked out in the midst of the wild. 

For some time — indeed even after the canal to supply this colony had been constructed — 
so rapidly did the open ditch absorb the intake that it was thought that the water would 
never reach the settlement at all. Week by week the tiny thread of fluid trickled and 
wound its way along; at last it entered the fields prepared for it, and, the flow steadily 
strengthening, crept farther and farther on, feeding an ever-widening district, until to- 
day there are fifteen canals drawing their waters from this river, irrigating 55,000 acres 
of land, which form a chain of settlement all around the Central Calii'ornian colony, and 
extending 16 miles beyond it. Water can now be struck anywhere across the whole 
plain at 10 feet, and often at 6 feet. The seepage from the canals has been great indeed, 
for it seems to have filled the whole subsoil, which has sucked it up like a sponge until 
it can hold no more. One important consequence is that irrigation by flooding or fur- 
rows is being abandoned at Fresno, as the irrigation by seepage maintains a constant 
supply within easy reach of the roots of vines and trees. 

The once arid region has become thoroughly moistened. Where till lately the con- 
tention for water was keen and ceaseless, one hears now of suits against canals on account 
of their supersaturation of adjoining vineyards. Nor is this to be wondered at, seeing that, 
in the midst of the once parched plain, there are now patches of artificial morass created, 
as in the Poudre Valley, Colorado, by over-irrigation, and continued for want of drain- 
age. For in Fresno, and Fresno alone, has drainage become a vital question. The larg- 
est vineyard in the district, that of Mr. Barton, has not been watered for two years, and 
the enterprising proprietor has actually excavated ditches around his property so as to 
drain it, to a depth of 6 feet. The Eisen vineyard close by, one of the oldest and 
best known in the district, is now involved in a suit, which its proprietor is bringing in 
self-defense against the canal proprietors for flooding his land. It is not only excess 
in flooding that has to be avoided but excess of seepage, which is just as bad. Not 
only is the creation of a morass on the surface fatal, but the morass condition below 


is proportionately injurious. Roots, of course, will not penetrate below the perpet- 
ual water line, and thus, if the water rises in the soil the depth from which they draw, 
their nourishment is liable to be greatly diminished. 

It has been suggested that if the pipe method of subirrigation were adopted the same 
pipes might be made available for drainage. If this could be accomplished without 
materially increasing the cost it should contain a solution of the difficulty in a 
few cases, but, as a rule, where drainage is needed subirrigation in any season would be 
superfluous if not injurious. A remarkable evidence of the rate of seepage in sandy 
soils is notable in the Fresno district, and that is two little ditches, a foot or so apart, 
each of them carrying a swift stream of water, which is soaking through the bank of a 
small canal, and which they divert from the field beyond. A few ditches of this de- 
scription compose the whole of the drainage work yet done in Western America. Even 
here the drainage problem does not appear to threaten the requirement of works any 
more expensive than those already in use, and, except in localities as peculiarly situated, 
as Fresno, it is improbable that any outlay to provide them will be needed, at all events 
for many years to come. 


For a complete comprehension of these facts, however, it is necessary to read them by 
the light of a knowledge of a peculiar property possessed by many soils, and which forms 
a most important factor in all calculations as to the limits of irrigation. It h?s been 
found by experiment in California that water rises rapidly in coarse, sandy soils, but 
only to a moderate height; while in finer soils, whether clayey or of a silty formation, 
the rise is slower but higher. So that in a few weeks or months, as the case may be, 
the water attains twice or thrice the height that it climbs to in the former. This has 
been said to be accomplished by means of a " capillary attraction," in which heat may, 
perhaps, be an important agent, seeing that the phenomenon is not observed in Colorado to 
anything like the some extent as in the California slope, and presents the result of exper- 
iments made upon different soils to test their capacity in this direction. A considera- 
tion of these results points to the superior value in suitable soils of subirrigation, or 
irrigation by seepage from below, over all methods of surface application, because is is 
thus possible to avoid caking the soil and loss by evaporation. 


Taking together the facts as to seepage of water from rivers or ditches, and those re- 
lating to the rising of water by means of what is called capillary attraction, one is 
furnished with the key to the gradual diminution of the water necessary for irriga- 
tion of the same land, which has been noted in almost every part of the West. In Colo- 
rado alone, in situations like that of Greeley, upon a deep, porous soil, with a rapid 
fall and quick drainage, as much water is said to be used to-day as in the initiation of 
the practice of artificial watering twelve years ago. Everywhere else the verdict of 
experience is that the water goes farther every year. 

The ranch-owner, who doubted if his springor brook would suffice for 20 acres, extends 
the area of his cultivation bit by bit until it reaches 80 or 100 acres, and he still has 
some to spare. 

Bishop Musser, of Salt Lake, who has made an especial study of irrigation in Utah 
and abroad, states that when the city was first founded there was only water enough 
from a particular source for 800 or 900 acres, while now the same amount supplies more 
than 5,000 acres. In another Mormon settlement, named Bountiful, where at first it was 
supposed that only a few families could be placed on account of the smallness of the stream 
of water available for irrigation, there are now between 4, 000 and 5, 000 people, all main- 
tained by means of the same supply. The whole of Utah has been peopled and all its cul- 
tivation based upon little driblets of water in this way. Yet the sandy aridity, which is 
absolutely worthless without water, may be soon over- wet, and it is found that where 
a piece of ground is fed by good seepage to irrigate it as well kills the crop. Here, as at 
Fresno, Riverside, Mussel Slough, and in Tulare County, California, may be seen farms 
and vineyards up to 160 acres in size irrigated solely by seepage from ditches which run 
along the upper edges of their fields. 

The distance that water will penetrate, even without any discoverable dip in the land, 
has been partially indicated by experiments in subirrigation, when the pipes and orifices, 
though fifty feet apart, have saturated the whole soil between them. With a fall in the 
country the seepage extends for far greater distances, and, curiously enough, an instance 
is reported in the San Joaquin Valley where, upon the construction of a canal, a well a 
mile or two on the upper side increased several feet in depth after the canal had been 
some time running. 


Another most instructive fact is that as the water supplied diminishes the crops tend 
to increase. They now raise more grain in Utah with half the water than they did when 
they concentrated double the supply upon a smaller area. For the first year or so of irri- 
gation the soil becomes soppy, but afterwards, while seeming drier, it is not nearly so 
thirsty; when it is very shallow flooding ceases and seepage alone is relied upon. Irri- 
gation is said to close the pores of the soil with an infiltration of rich impalpable silt, 
so that it absorbs more slowly and retains what is absorbed much longer. 

Under good cultivation the soil thus enriched becomes far more fruitful than it orig- 
inally was; but too much water makes the land cold, and eventually turns it into a 
quagmire. When soakage, as from flooding, is accompanied by soakage upwards by ' ' cap- 
illary attraction, ' ' the consequence in California is the formation of what is termed ' ' hard- 
pan," an impenetrable layer which resists the entrance of roots and yields them no 
nourishment. Where this is feared flooding is suspended and the subterranean supply 
depended upon. Such is the rapidity with which roots push for water, even where 
moisture can be found, 15 or 20 feet from the surface, no flooding is needed alter the 
first year or two. The roots of vines have been known to penetrate nearly 30 feet in a 
little over three years, while even lucerne roots travel 15 or 20 feet downwards to moist- 
ure. But the catalogue of facts, proving in a variety of ways the injurious effects of 
over-irrigation, and the marvelous results to be accomplished in time by small streams of 
water, might be multiplied indefinitely. 


A preliminary doubt as to water measurements has to be taken into account, for until 
recently different standards have been in use; and still there is, even in flourishing dis- 
tricts, the greatest laxity in applying what standards they have. In Los Angeles, for 
instance, the zanjero, or water-master, has relied solely upon his eye to judge of the 
stream a farmer was entitled to receive; and though practice no doubt had enabled him 
to allot something like an equal share to each person concerned, it is plain that any 
attempt to define the quantity in recognized measures could only be an uncertain 
approximation. In every State the use of water for mining purposes has preceded or, 
in the first instance, overshadowed that for irrigation; and, consequently, what estimates 
have been made in the past, have been expressed in ' ; miners' inches. ' ' This was sup- 
posed to define the quantity of water flowing through an aperture an inch square, but, 
as in some parts the pressure adopted was that of a 4-inch head, while in other places 
the head was 6 inches, there was evidently abundant room for variation, even in the 
determination of the capacity of a single inch. When, again, a number of inches came 
to be measured atonce it became possible either to adopt an aperture one inch high 
and the specified number of inches in length, or to take the square of the whole num- 
ber of inches as giving the dimensions of the orifice, in which case, again, there was 
another great cause of variation. The State engineer of Colorado has calculated that 
the miner's inch in that State has been .026 cubic feet, or, roughly speaking, a fortieth 
of a cubic foot; and this is now generally adopted as its equivalent, though as a matter 
of fact, in more southerly States, where water has been scarce, the miner's inch has only 
meant one-fiftieth of a cubic foot. 

Taking into account this initial cause of confusion in the measurement of water, we 
next find that the quantity of land which any given unit of water will irrigate is gov- 
erned, first, by the kind of soil, subsoil, the rainfall, temperature, and evaporation of 
the particular area irrigated, next by the kind of crop grown, and the method of water- 
ing it, as well as by the length of time which that land or neighboring land has been 
irrigated, and lastly by its position with regard to seepage, and its capacity of capillary 
attraction. It is plainly no easy matter, even when all the terms of the special instance 
are known, to fix the duty of water under these circumstances. But in almost every in- 
stance the records of American experience are wanting in respect to one or more partic- 
ulars, and hence again there is only room for the vaguest conclusions. 

Instances can be quoted in which a flow of one cubic foot per second has supplied 0.000 
acres, while in others it only supplies 50 acres. It is vain to attempt to arrive at accu- 
racy in the face of such extremes as these. The manner in which water is sold in the 
States puts another barrier in the way. A water right there does not mean a right to 
any given quantity of water, but a right to have a stream of a certain capacity turned 
into the purchaser's lateral for as often and as long as he pleases. Each farmer accord- 
ingly draws upon the supply just according to his fancy in each season. As yet, as there 
is water in plenty, the Colorado companies do not restrict their customers to the stream 
they have purchased, but give them whatever flow they happen to have. The farmer, 
for his part, does not measure the quantity he receives nor yet the quantity which 
flows away from him, so that on neither side is there any opportunity of obtaining ex- 
actitude as to the quantity actually absorbed by the land. Where measurements have 


taken place, as in Southern California, it has usually been at the farmer's receiving 
point, from which there is more or less loss, according to the nature of his soil, the 
make of his ditch, and the distance to be traveled before the field is reached, which ren- 
ders these almost equally unreliable. 

In the face of this array of disturbing causes it is utterly impossible to do more than 
notice a number of rough generalizations, which have some force in special localities. 
The more sandy the soil the more readily it receives and parts with water, while, as the 
soil becomes heavier, it absorbs less, and retains it longer; the deeper the soil the more 
water is required in the first instance, while with a retentive subsoil succeeding water- 
ings can be greatly diminished. The heavier the rainfall the greater the duty of water 
in equal temperatures, and when evaporation comes into play the duty has to be corre- 
spondingly reduced. Where the land is in a position to receive seepage from higher irri- 
gations, or is so porous as to draw a sufficient supply from its own laterals, or is so 
saturated as to need for a time no water even in its canals, which are, perhaps, as at 
Fresno, turned into drainage-ditches, the duty, of course, tends to become nominally 
enormous. Then, again, small grains as a rule take twice as much water as corn or 
potatoes, and many times as much per acre as orchards, which are watered on an econom- 
cali method. Even the waterings given to one grain, such as wheat, vary according to 
locality from one to four, oats requiring more and barley a little less. In Riverside the 
orchards are often only watered once from furrows in winter, and once, twice, or thrice, 
according to the idea of the owner, in summer. Where flooding takes thousands of gal- 
lons the fua-row system only requires hundreds, and subirrigation tens of gallons for a 
similar area, though, of course, under different crops. 


Setting aside the question of the actual quantity of water used or needed for naviga- 
tion, we find that, even comparing the flow of water allotted to farmers for as long as 
they like, there are the widest differences. Taking the flow of one cubic foot to the 
second (available during the season for cereals of Colorado, and all the year round for the 
orchards of California), without making allowance for differing rainfalls, 'this supplies in 
Colorado 53 acres; Italy, 70.2 acres (Col. Baird Smith); Utah, San Bernardino, Cal., and 
France, 80 to 100 acres; San Gabriel, Cal., 120 acres; Fresno, Cal., 160 acres; India, 150 
to 200 acres (sira cotton); Los Angeles and Anaheim, Cal, rather over 200 acres; River- 
side, Cal., nearly 300 acres; Ontario, Redlands, Cal., Algeria, and parts of India, 400 
acres; Sierra Madre, Cal., 580 acres; Spain, as high as 1,000 acres; Pasadena, Cal., 1,665 
acres; and by subirrigation, according to one or two experiments, from 1,500 to 9,000 

In Kansas, Arizona, and Mexico the figures given are too conflicting to be quotable. 
There are the same contrasts as to the depth of water which should be put upon land. 
In Colorado two or three waterings are given of from 3 to 5 inches in depth; in some 
parts of southern California waterings of 12 inches in depth have been given, and in other 
parts a total sufficient in the year to make a depth of several feet. On the other hand, 
there are farmers in these districts who, according to their own testimony, employ less 
than half the quantity used by their neighbors, and with equal if not superior results. 

If the Colorado farmer were to use all the water at his disposal, he would cover his fields 
nearly 4 feet deep. The practice appears to be, on the average, to use about one-fourth 
of this, but there is such a difference in soils that this is but a poor guide. Where a coarse 
sandy soil, with porous subsoil, can take 10 feet in the season, a fine compact alluvial, 
with clay subsoil, would be injured with 1 foot; hence, 10 acres of the latter cam be irri- 
gated to 1 of the former by the same quantity of water. A natural measure of the duty 
of water in many places may be supplied by the rainfall of good harvest years, making 
allowance for the time of fall. In Central California 13 inches during a frostless winter 
and spring have proved sufficient, and probably if 12 inches could be secured from rain- 
fall and ditch together during the spring it would prove more than ample for flooding 


The prices paid for water are so complicated by the conditions under which it is sold 
that it is almost impossible to do more than quote the rates in different localities. The 
water itself costs the appropriators nothing beyond the expense of putting it upon the 
land, which differs, of course, in every State and every district. This first outlay for 
works furnishes one clue of an uncertain character to the price of water. Where farm- 
ers unite for the purpose of securing a j oint supply, they work or pay their share of the 
construction, and afterwards their proportion of the sum necessary to keep the works in 
repair, so that it is difficult in many instances to determine exactly what their water 
costs them. In Colorado it is considered that an irrigable area sbould be supplied with, 


an outlay upon main-works of £1 or 25s. per acre, an estimate which appears to agree, on 
the whole, with experience elsewhere. 

Occasionally, as in Kansas, where very large canals run through very favorably situ- 
ated country, main- works of a temporary character can be built for as low as 10s. per acre, 
while on the other hand, where special difficulties intervene, as at Salt Lake, in the price 
to be paid for easements over private lands one finds the canal costing 50s. per acre to 
build. This is by no means the maximum of first expenditure. 

With extra works, such as fiuming or tunneling, as in Colorado, or wooden chan- 
neling, as in the city ditch at Salt Lake, Utah, or expensive piping, as at Pasadena, or the 
Highlands Canal in Los Augeles County, California, the cost may rise, asinthe last two in- 
stances, to £8 and £10 12s. per acre. Here, of course, the supply is for small areas un- 
der intense culture. The greater the scale of the undertaking the less the cost per acre. 

The 150, 000 acres at Bakersfield, Cal., can be watered by one proprietary for 10s. 8d. per 
acre, whereas, if divided into a number of different schemes, adapted here and there to 
the condition of ownership rather than to the natural surface of the land, it would prob- 
ably have cost twice as much. Or, take the 76 canal beyond Fresno, Cal., which now 
supplies only 20,000 acres, at a first cost of about 25s. per acre; with an extension of 
its secondary canals, so as to allow it to supply the 40,000 acres lying under them, the 
outlay per acre would be reduced to 20s. ; while if the complete plan, which is for the 
irrigation of 180,000 acres, were carried out, this would be still further brought down 
to 15s. per acre. Water, therefore, is dearest where the schemes are smallest; that is, 
where the works are relatively most costly. 

The same fact is again illustrated by the price asked for water-rights, which are almost 
invariably highest in small schemes. Thus, in such ' 'colonies ' ' as Ontario, Etiwanda, 
or Pomona, Cal., where land is sold in 10-acre blocks, a water-right costs from £15 to 
£20 per acre, while upon 80-acre blocks it can be purchased in Colorado for £3, in Utah 
for about 50s. and in Kansas for half that sum. Having a water- right, the farmer is 
then liable only to a yearly assessment for maintenance. This, on the other hand, is 
highest as a rule where the water-right is cheapest, ranging from 8s. per acre in Kansas, 
and 4s. an acre in Utah, to 2s. Gd. in Fresno, and 2s. in several colonies in Los Angeles 

In Colorado the maximum rate of Gs. per acre per annum is rarely charged, the water- 
right owners only paying the 6d. or 9d. per acre, which is actually spent on repairs, and 
the same custom prevails in some parts of Utah ; but in both of these instances the 
schemes are large. 

The prices of water rights vary from a variety of causes, such as whether the water 
owner has land of his own to sell or not, so that particular instances offer but little guide 
to an exact estimate of their value; nor do they furnish any clew to the quantity of water 
actually sold. 

In Kansas water is paid for according to the acreage of the purchaser, who takes as 
much as he likes in return for his yearly rental. This most wasteful of practices was 
tried and abandoned in Southern California, as it will be abandoned in Kansas when 
water becomes more valuable. Meanwhile its steady increase in price is everywhere 
noticeable. Thus, at the foundation of Greeley, Colo. , 80 acres with water could be pur- 
chased for £60; a few years later the water alone became worth £100; to-day the same 
water right is bringing £200, and with the land is worth £600. In all the "colonies " 
of California there has been as great a rise in the price of water, though there it is to be 
found in almost every instance linked to the land. This puts another difficulty in the 
way of estimating the exact price of water, for though the water is really that for which 
the money is paid some deduction has to be made for the area upon which it is to be 

Land which in the arid state brings only £1 per acre, is sold at £10 or £15 per acre 
when under a ditch, and something like this proportion is maintained even for higher 
priced dry lands, which rise from £5 to £40, and from £15 to £100, when artificially 

When the land and the water right are sold apart the canal owner makes two profits, 
one in the tripling or quadrupling of the price paid for the land, which is his chief profit, 
and the other upon the water-right, the price of which represents his outlay upon works, 
with liberal interest added. The first profit, made nominally upon the land, which is 
often greater than here stated, is, of course, really another profit upon the water, and as 
the cost per acre of the works is, as a rule, less than the cost per acre of the land, the 
gain upon the investment in water is much larger than appears. Where there is no sale 
of land, that is where the water has been brought to land already sold, or for sale by 
persons other than the canal owners, the price of the water is much higher, reaching 
sometimes as much as 20s. or 25s. per acre per annum. At Los Angeles, Cal., water is 
sold by what is called a "head," which under their loose measurement varies from 2 


cubic feet to 4 cubic feet per second, at 8s. per day or 6s. per night in summer within 
the city, twice that price outside of its boundaries, and half the price in winter. 

At Orange and its neighboring settlements the price for a flow of about 2 cubic feet 
per second is 10s. for twenty-four hours, or 6s. per day and 4s. per night, and in winter 
6 s. for the twenty-four hours. At Riverside the cost is about 7s. 6d. per day, or 5s. per 
night, for a cubic foot per second, or 12s. for the twenty-four hours. These prices, vary- 
ing indefinitely as the conditions of sale vary, furnish but an insecure basis for any 

Possibly a better idea of the importance of water than can be derived from any list 
of purchases and rentals in particular places may be obtained by a glance at its capital 
value. It has been calculated that the flow of a cubic foot per second for the irrigating 
season of all future years is worth from £15 to £25 per acre in grain or grazing country 
to £30 in fruit lands. This is the price paid to apply such a stream to a special piece 
of land for as long as the farmer may think necessary, the knowledge that an excess of 
water will ruin his crops being the only limit. But if a flow of a cubic foot per second 
were brought in perpetuity without any limit as to the acreage to which it might be 
applied, or the time or circumstances of applying it, the capital value of such a stream 
in Southern California to-day would be at least £8,000. 


What price can be paid for water, or land and water together, depends upon the prod- 
ucts raised and the price of those products at the homestead, by taking which as a guide 
consideration of complicated questions as to markets and freights may be avoided. So 
far as American experience goes, there appears to be no limit to the scope of irrigation, 
which embraces the fruits and cereals of the temperate zone, as well as the products 
that are raised only under a tropical sun. Apples, blackberries, and barley are irrigated 
in Colorado or Northern California, as are rice, cotton, and sugar in the hot lowlands of 
Mexico. Over a large area of the West it may almost be said that .as nothing can be 
grown without irrigation, auy thing can be grown by irrigation. 

Wherever water has been plentiful and the ground fairly level, it has paid to grow ir- 
rigated grain. There are thousands of acres in Colorado and Utah which have never 
grown any other crop, and are still growing it. The irrigated area under grain in Mex- 
ico is very large, and the yield heavy, while it is a moderate estimate that in the States 
5,000,000 bushels of wheat are raised by its means. 

It is generally calculated that grain can be grown at a profit under irrigation for 2s. 6d. 
per bushel, and even where, as in Arizona, the crop has to be teamed 12 or 14 miles 
across the desert, at a cost of Id. per bushel to railways, upon which the rating is all 
against the local grower, grain is found to pay. Of course the chief prosperity in the 
wheat districts was when 4s. and 5s. a bushel were regularly realized, and a profit of at 
least 50s. per acre was counted upon. All this has changed since the fall in prices, which 
has brought profits down to 20s. per acre, with a yield of 25 bushels. Grain pays still, 
but very poorly, and, even in better times, it is generally considered the poorest paying 
crop that can be raised. Still it does pay for irrigation, and this is an important fact to 
the farmer who cannot afford to wait for the higher returns from intense culture. Nor 
does grain-growing noticeably impoverish the land where proper precautions are taken 
against the washing out of the fertilizing matter in the soil, and for the utilization of 
any sediment there may be in the irrigating water. 

In Utah a rotation of crops is adopted; but in Colorado are to be found instances 
where grain has been grown every season for ten or fifteen years without perceptibly 
injuring the land. In Arizona and Mexico the native population have raised their 
wheat and Indian corn from the same plots for scores, if not hundreds, of years; and to 
them the idea of manuring is quite unknown. Here and there a farmer may be found 
who takes the pains to use the droppings of his stock upon his fields, but this is the ex- 
ception. As a practice, systematic fertilization is unthought of; and so far no serious 
inj ury appears to have resulted from its neglect where any falling off in yield has been 
followed by change of crop. This is of interest as showing at all events that the need 
of expensive restoration of the soil is not likely to assert itself in our richer lands until 
after some or perhaps many years of irrigation. Neither does the grain itself suffer if 
the seed be carefully selected. In Southern California irrigated wheat has a slightly 
thicker skin, makes more bran, and to the practiced eye is slightly darker in hue than 
that from the wet northern region, but it is said even there to be fully equal in quality 
to unirrigated wheat, a testimony which was repeated by millers in Mexico, Arizona, 
and Colorado. It is not from any such fallacious anticipations that grain-growing by 
irrigation is condemned in the States. Though all kinds of grain can be grown weil 
and at a profit, the growing is considered a mistake, because the profit is too small. 
J^and and vyater that will grow grain will yield crops which are much more remuner- 


ative. Grain, may be taken in rotation with potatoes, which flourish under irrigation 
in a sandy loam, or with peas or lucern, which act as restoratives to the soil. All 
kinds of root crops and all kinds of vegetables can be grown, and are grown, usually at 
a somewhat higher profit than grain. These again have as a rule a smaller profit than 
can be obtained from stock, which, in its tarn, yields to the profits derivable from 
grapes and fruit. 


It is a more remunerative occupation to grow beef and mutton or bacon, for which 
there is just as steady a demand. Two-thirds-of the 50,000 acres irrigated at Phoenix 
is under grain, but this little valley also raises its 100,000 hogs. Dairy produce is suc- 
cessfully raised in Northern California by means of irrigation, where, indeed, it is ap- 
plied to little else on account of the regular aud sufficient rainfall which can there be 
counted upon. Even in Australia many towns owe a considerable proportion of their 
vegetable supply to the Chinese irrigator. It would be a mistake to ignore these minor 
ways in which irrigation can be very profitably employed, especially in the neighborhood 
of centers of population, but it would be an equally great mistake to suppose that ir- 
rigation is only practiced on this scale. A prevailing misconception as to irrigation 
is that it is employed only for smallareas under high culture. The fact that great stock- 
growers in California, such as Messrs. Haggin & Carr, or Messrs. Miller & Lux, irri- 
gate thousands of acres for stock purposes appears to be lost sight of. Much Mexican 
irrigation is carried on upon the same plan. Where the great land-owners have their 
immense estates, one can see not hundreds but thousands of acres artificially watered; 
and where smaller proprietors enjoy a share of the coveted irrigable area they cultivate 
so closely to each other's borders that the fenceless area as far as the eye can reach ap- 
pears one gigantic irrigated field. The great valleys of the Ortiz, the Concho, the Florido, 
and the Nazas, the wide sloping plains of the Laguna country in the neighborhood of 
Lerdo, and in the province of Leon exhibit the patient industry of the peasants and a 
marvelous fertility secured by means of an artificial water supply of the rudest char- 
acter. On the great cattle and sheep ranches of New Mexico the proprietors, some of them 
Australians, are enlisting the same invaluable ally in order to protect themselves against 
the occasional ravages made in their flocks and herds by bad seasons. It paj^s as a rule 
to irrigate natural grasses, for by this means the carrying capacity of land is increased 
33 per cent. The Chowchilla Canal, in Fresno County, California, 30 miles long, 30 
feet wide at its mouth, and 2 } feet deep, is used almost solely for this purpose, and there 
are 20,000 acres of natural-grass land irrigated in one property in Kern County. 


But the mainstay of the American stock farmer, large and small, is lucern, there styled 
alfalfa, which, though unsuccessful in England, is highly prized in France. In every 
Western State this is grown to profusion. There are 35,000 acres of it grown by irriga- 
tion at Bakersfield. In Yolo County, California, almost the whole of the 13,000 acres 
watered from the Woodland Canal is under lucern; it is to be found upon almost every 
colony rjlot in Southern California, and is the surest source of revenue in Utah and New 
Mexico. The area planted with this crop is increasing with marvelous rapidity. It is 
said to carry 10 sheep or even 20 sheep to the acre if it be cut for them. It is not a new 
growth in Victoria, but without irrigation its marvelous qualities have only partially 
developed themselves. At Dookie, with only the natural rainfall, it can be cut but 
once a year, yielding about three-quarters of a ton to the acre; while at Bacchus Marsh, 
with irrigation or water within reach of its roots, it can be cut five or six times, yield- 
ing 7 or 8 tons, and lasts fifteen to twenty years. 

There are some 300 acres of it in this locality, thriving upon a natural seepage, and 
though rather delicate in its earlier stages, owing to the lack of ir rigation, when once 
firmly rooted it raises the value of the land to from £50 to £75 per acre. It is sown broad- 
cast and freely, with a little wheat, oats, or barley mixed in it; is rarely manured, 
though better for an occasional scarifying and top-dressing ; is never fed down, but cut 
early and often, and found to possess splendid fattening qualities. Under irrigation 
lucern seems to flourish everywhere, particularly in sandy loam, and in a warm climate 
free from frost, and though the yields given vary, they are all great. Three cuttings are 
sometimes obtained in the first year, making a total crop of 4 tons to the acre, but the 
general thing is, as in Utah, to obtain only one crop in this period. After this 6 tons 
are expected in the second year and 8 to 12 tons in the third year. There are poor soils 
where it is cut only twice or three times, and other soils on which its quality does not 
keep pace with the quantity, but on those that most resemble our own plains the cut- 
ting is rarely less than four times and the yield generally over 10 tons per acre in the 
course of the year. 



But the products for which irrigation is most necessary, and in which it yields the 
largest, are grapes and fruit. The great land-owner in America not only plants his 
thousands of acres of lucern and perhaps his ten thousand acres of grain, but, with in- 
cessant enterprise, plants his hundreds of acres of vines and fruit-trees. When irrigation 
is employed, however, the production is almost wholly in the hands of small proprietors, 
men often of some education and some capital, who have found an attractive field for the 
exercise of their intelligence in bringing small allotments into a condition of the highest 
productiveness. Judging by the results obtained in Southern California, to which this 
class of cultivation is as yet chiefly confined, it has not proved an unprofitable speculation. 
It is safe to predict that in a short time grain-growing will be given up on all smaller 
areas of irrigation and that a commencement will have been made upon the larger tracts 
to follow the same example. It pays better to grow fresh vegetables for towns or 
can them for export, or to establish chicken farms or bee ranches than to raise grain 
for export. Already in Northern California the great farms, so famous a few years ago 
for their yields and extent, are being cut up into vineyards and orchards, and where 
along the old mining ditches any vintage ground can be secured it is being put to the 
same uses. 

Twenty acres under vines or fruit-trees are preferred to 160 acres under grain. There 
is more regular employment and more regular leisure, with less stress at a particular 
season for adult male iabor. An acre in raisins was reckoned as valuable as 5 acres of 
wheat, when the price of wheat was nearly twice what it is now. 

The fruits grown are oranges, lemons, limes, apricots, pears, figs, peaches, pome- 
granates, nectarines, apples, plums, quinces, cherries, olives, almonds, walnuts, and chest- 
nuts. From some of these two crops a year are obtained, but of course none of them 
bear for some time after planting. This is not all lost time to the American farmer, who 
grows great crops of vegetables between his fruit trees until they are ready for bearing. 
The period during which no return is expected, even under irrigation, is considerable; 
as, for instance, it is for peaches, apricots, almonds, and vines, four years; for oranges, 
ten years from the seed, five years from the bud; olives, from seven to ten years, unless 
the Spanish practice of planting branches is followed, in which case it takes only two 
years ; and walnuts seven years. When the profits do come, however, they are propor- 
tionately large. 

Nearly 50 per cent, of the fruit grown in California is canned, but only 5 per cent, is 
dried. The production is increasing enormously every year. Vineyards are utilized not 
only for the supply of grapes but of raisins and wine; and there is no branch of produc- 
tion into which capitalists and small farmers are now entering upon a greater scale 
or with more confidence than wine-growing. The clearest heads in California consider 
the overproduction of wines or raisins an impossibility, and experience is teaching them 
that at existing prices the investment is remunerative, although wine-making is devel- 
oped in the face of a prejudice quite as unreasoning as that which has till lately faced 
colonial vintages. For other fruits, though drying is occasionally adopted, the chief re- 
liance is upon the canning process practiced in every fruit-growing center. The taste 
for fruit, whether fresh, dried, or canned, is one that appears to grow by what it feeds 
on, for the demand in America seems to increase almost as fast as production. The 
markets of the East are, of course, open to the irrigating West, but rates of transports are 
relatively high, and competition from the West Indies and the Mediterranean is keen, 
so that it can scarcely be said to be a home market in the ordinary sense of the term. 

The injurious effects of overirrigation are just as potent in fruit-growing as in every 
other crop. It is claimed on the authority of a commission of experts, appointed by the 
French Government to inquire into the remedies for phylloxera, that regular furrow irri- 
gation in summer keeps the disease in check, but it has been proven in Fresno that an 
excess of water injures both the wine and raisin qualities of the grape. There is a spe- 
cial disease to which orange trees are subject which strips the tree of its leaves, pre- 
vents the fruit from coming to maturity, and finally kills the tree, which a special com- 
mittee of the Southern Californian Horticultural Society, after an exhaustive inquiry, 
has declared to be wholly due to overirrigation and deficient cultivation. The citrus 
family can endure more water than any other class of fruit-tree, but it is clear that the 
limit of the water consumption of any of them is soon reached, and that to go beyond 
it is injurious if not fatal. 


We have now taken a rapid glance at the products of 2, 500, 000 acres of Western America, 
watered by 12,000 miles of main canals' and 120,000 miles of subsidiary ditches, at an 
expense of many hundreds of millions of dollars. The estimates of the value of the 
yield from irrigated vineyards and orchards are not official, but those engaged in sup~ 


plying the markets put the production of Californian vineyards this year at £1,000,000 
and of the orangeries and orchards of the same State at half as much again. 

A good deal of fruit is grown for home consumption in neighboring irrigating States, 
but prohibitive railway rates have prevented the full expansion of this and other classes 
of production. Utah and Colorado, entirely dependent upon irrigation, draw their reve- 
nue frorn other classes of products — the latter in 1883 raising in value £1,100,000 of 
grain and root crops, the former £700,000. To assess the total value of the products 
raised by means of irrigation, many of which could not be raised without it, would be 
no easy undertaking; but it is quite clear from the statistics that it must be expressed 
in millions sterling. Adding the enhanced stock-bearing capacity of the country, and 
the value of industries not directly productive which are dependent upon the irrigating 
settlements, would make up a grand total that would probably surprise the Americans 
themselves. There is no reason to suppose that the list of products capable of being 
profitably grown under irrigation is yet exhausted. Experiments are continually be- 
ing made with fresh crops, and the result is generally favorable where climate and soil 
conditions are studied. Great as the produce of the artificially-watered West now 
is, the prospects are that it will become very much greater; and the opinion of those 
qualified to form a judgment is that irrigation, marked, as have been its successes, is yet 
in its infancy, and has given no more than a promise of what it is destined to achieve. 


There are irrigated lands in which health seems entirely unaffected; there are others 
where the influence of malaria is but too patent, and the task is to discriminate between 
them. The river bottoms, as they are termed, flats, but little raised above the level of 
streams, are, throughout the southern parts of the United States, recognized as malari- 
ous whether irrigation is practiced or not. Fever, ague, and chills are prevalent in such 
localities in Missouri, in Louisiana, as in the southwestern area. From their position 
these lands are easily irrigable, and hence settlers are tempted upon them and become 
subject to the same complaints. Whether irrigation, as is probable, increases the danger 
in such spots is not known, but in places similarly situated, though not malarious pre- 
vious to irrigation, it seems that the practice has acted injuriously. Where the soil is 
saturated and artificial morasses are formed, as at Fresno, fever is naturally found in the 
immediate neighborhood. Along the lower lines of this district the miasma rises to a 
height of 10 feet, and here, as in the counties further south, the sleeping-rooms are always 
placed in a second story in consequence. Much of this region was malarious before irri- 
gation was practiced, and in parts the formation of channels is said to have actually re- 
duced the danger. This, however, in such circumstances, can only be entirely removed 
by complete drainage. Much importance is attached to the source of the water drank, 
and wells are sunk to great depths so as to avoid all seepage, and secure a pure supply. 

On the bench, or mesa lands, of California or Kansas, in those of Colorado, with their 
rapid natural drainage, or in the porous lands of Arizona and New Mexico, malaria is as 
yet unknown; nor does there seem much prospect of its appearing. It is feared only in 
lands naturally swampy, or readily made so. It is not regarded as a fatal complaint, 
though the repeated attacks to which its victims are subject necessarily have a perma- 
nently weakening and depressing effect. There are many who seem to escape even in 
these localities, but there are others whose sallow and sickly looks only too plainly in- 
dicate the presence of malaria. 


Another matter arising out of American experiences which it is desirable to notice is 
the relation between the ownership of land and that of water. Where a farmer has his 
own canal to his own land no question arises. Where a number of farmers excavate a 
ditch and parcel the water out between them, the only question is as to whether the 
water used by each can be applied where he pleases, or whether it must be applied to 
particular acres specified in the contract. If he can sell his water to another or turn it 
upon new land, the business of the company becomes more complicated and the value 
of the lands first irrigated is not so well maintained. If, however, as is often the case, 
the farmers have been unable to make the ditch without assistance and have called in a 
capitalist to join them, he frequently arranges to take up a certain amount of unoccu- 
pied land which can be served by the canal and from the sale of which he looks to derive 
a considerable share of his profit. To prevent competition, therefore, he generally stipu- 
lates that the water-rights which the farmers receive in return for their investment of 
labor or capital shall attach to their particular acreage and can not be transferred to any 
other land. By this means he secures for himself the market for all irrigated land out- 
side of these acreages.. When he sells what land can be irrigated by his share of the 


water his interest in the canal determines, and the works become the property of those 
who own the various ear-marked acreages which it is confined to supplying, unless by 
common consent the proprietors then decree otherwise. 

Capitalists often construct canals into unoccupied country as a speculation, and sell so 
much land with a right to so much water attached until rights covering the whole flow 
of the canal are parted with, and the new owners of the land become joint proprietors 
of the work which feeds it. In this way land and water are bought and sold together, 
the area of the land being measured by the quantity of water; for, in the West all 
value may be said to inhere in the water. Land is plentiful and almost worthless. The 
owner of the water really owns the land, for it is useless without his supply. The 
quantity of available water, and not the area of a territory, defines its agricultural ex- 
tent; consequently, where capitalists have built canals to lands which they do not own 
and have secured the water, they have really acquired the land too. They have the 
farmers absolutely at their mercy, and enjoy a monopoly of a most arbitrary kind. A 
land-owner who obtains a water-right can carry a stream to his own property at a dis- 
tance through land as good as his, which never can be cultivated except with his con- 
sent, and which will fetch only one-tenth of what his irrigated land will fetch, though 
the two are only divided by a fence. 

A recognition of the danger of allowing water to be monopolized without regard to 
the land has led a commission appointed to inquire into Californian irrigation to declare 
that, "as a matter of public policy, it is desirable that the land and water be joined 
never to be cut asunder; that the farmers would enjoy in perpetuity the use of the 
water necessary for the irrigation of their respective lands; that when the land is sold, 
the right to water shall also be sold with it, and that neither shall be sold separately." 
Major Powell, in his careful draft of a land system adapted to the arid region, most em- 
phatically recommends that "The right to use water should inhere in the land to be 
irrigated, and water-rights should go with land titles." In Colorado, the feeling has 
gone so far that a proposal has been made in the legislature to compel all canal owners 
to supply any persons with water, which they are not themselves using, at fixed rates; 
but as this would simply mean transferring to land owners who had invested nothing in 
canals part of the profit to be made by those who had so invested, the proposal was not 
entertained. Indeed, where the companies, as at Denver, sell the water-right with the 
land, and then contract to maintain a water supply in perpetuity for a fixed sum per 
annum, the system is unobjectionable, providing that, as in these cases, the water-right 
has been properly obtained. 

In Colorado and Utah, notwithstanding their peculiar situation, the water is given 
to the first applicant, though he has to purchase the land to use it upon, which without 
the water would be worthless. It would have been more economical and more simple 
to have sold the water and given the land. Be this as it may it is essential that they 
should always go together. The practice of tying water-rights to the land has another 
argument beside that of avoiding monopoly, and this is that it tends to a more careful 
use of the water by its concentration upon a smaller area. 


At first, as at Greeley, colonies were established upon something of a communal 
basis beyond the joint ownership of water-works, but this is now very rare. It is still 
frequently the case to find them organized upon a temperance basis, or by the union of 
those of the same nationality, as in the Scandinavian and German colonies. The joint 
interest in the sources of their irrigation supply remain, but all other kind of community 
has disappeared. Under the most favored plan, a piece of irrigable land is marked out 
into small holdings; either the land owner or a company construct works to supply 
these with water, and the lots are then sold to any purchaser with water- rights attached. 
By liberal advertising, and easy terms of sale, new centers of population and produc- 
tion are created in this way in a very short time, so that the barren plain, in the course 
of a few years, becomes dotted over with these oases until one joins another, and at last 
they inclose and support a thriving and well-built city, such as Fresno is to-day. 
Altogether there are some fifty of these colonies in California, some of them planned 
upon a large scale, such as Riverside, and containing their township within themselves. 
It becomes the interest of the original owners to make the advantages which their lands 
offer widely known, and, consequently, they turn themselves into emigration agents of 
the most energetic kind. The Eastern States are deluged with pamphlets, even the Old 
World is reached by means of the printing office and by correspondence through the re- 
lations of those already settled. The aim is to make the place attractive, and no expense 
is spared to insure success. In one such enterprise at Ontario, the proprietors have laid 
out nearly £100,000 upon 8,000 acres of land, bought at 28s. per acre; of this sum about 
£10,000 was spent upon head-works for the water supply, which is conducted in 26£ miles 


of cement pipes to the corner of each ten-acre allotment, and in 3} miles of iron pipes to 
the township for domestic purposes, at a cost of over £10,000. More than £20,000 in land 
was given to establish an agricultural college now built in the center of the settlement, 
nearly £4,000 spent in planting trees and making streets, and £700 in securing a railway- 
station. There is a double avenue running through the colony 7 miles long in a straight 
line, and 200 feet wide, planted with eucalyptus trees, and intended to contain a cable 
tramway, and from the masts of which will be suspended electric lights, run by hydraulic 
power. Over £7,000 was spent in advertising this colony, and the result is confidently 
awaited. Many persons, weary of city life, are drawn from the New England States, 
while numbers are attracted from the Old World by the inducements held out to 

The colony enterprise has many advantages for those who engage in it. To join in it 
does not imply so great a trial as that of facing the wilderness with no neighbor less 
than miles away. It permits of society, of the establishment of schools, churches, and 
libraries, and the enjoyment of comforts which cannot be secured in isolation. It fur- 
nishes, in fine, a framework for commercial organization and the beginning of local gov- 
ernment. It appeals, too, to a larger class than that usually drawn to agriculture. The 
physical labor required is not so severe; there is more scope for intelligence, and it offers 
remunerative employment for a small capital. 


This is due not to the colony organization, but to the fact that by means of irrigation 
smallholdings under intense culture are proved to be profitable. The land and water 
which will produce 25 to 35 bushels of wheat at 2s. 6d. per bushel will produce, under 
fruit trees, a crop worth twenty or thirty times as much. One- twentieth or one- thir- 
tieth of the area under fruit instead of grain will yield as great a return and a larger 
percentage of rjrofit. It has been found in parts of Europe where the water is the prop- 
erty of one owner and the land of many others that the tendency of irrigation is to es- 
tablish a monopoly in land. This is the case whenever the water is not attached to the 
land, and owing to a defective code lawsuits are frequent. But where water is attached 
to land, and rights are indisputable, there is exactly the opposite tendency — to cut up 
the land into small farms. It needs both men and money to prepare and plant 20 acres 
of fruit trees at once. It is as much as a hardworking man can do to attend to 20 acres 
of oranges or 25 acres of vines himself, and then he needs light assistance in the picking 
season. It is calculated that he can by frugality maintain himself and family upon half 
as much. Hence in the colonies 40 acres is a large estate; it requires hired labor and 
yields a considerable revenue. 

Whether colony life yie Ids large profits or not, the visible evidences are all of pros- 
perity. The little holdings are neatly tilled, with an air of perfect security, owing to 
their being often unfenced or fenced only by a row of trees; the houses are neat, well 
finished, well furnished, and of some architectural pretensions; the people are comforta- 
bly dressed and well nourished, and their cattle in capital condition. Many of them 
brought their savings with them, and they are apparently content with their investment. 
The poorest places in these colonies have a far greater air of comfort than grain farms of 
two or three hundred acres in extent. Whole colonies have been settled direct from Eu- 
rope by a peasantry trained to the most frugal and industrious habits, and with these 
success is im'mediate. The much more extravagant American has a harder time of it, 
if he starts upon his 10 acres with less than £500, as he must maintain himself by labor- 
ing for others the greater part of his first three or four years. Still there are numbers 
who enter upon their little plots without even the money to pay for them or build a house, 
or buy their tools. Many of these are dependent upon advances from the land companies, 
and, though interest is charged, the general result is that in a tew years the hardy colon- 
ist has his homestead clear, and a profit from it which, in a few years more, suffices to 
maintain him, and employ him always upon his own land. Ten-acre blocks are gaining 
in favor in some districts, and nowhere can one observe deserted colonies, or parts of 
a colony, which show signs of the total failure of effort. 


The success of small settlements in Utah is evidence of what can be accomplished in 
the face of the greatest difficulties. The tide of immigration constantly pouring into 
Salt Lake City consists of families often entirely destitute, and who have, as a rule, to 
become indebted to the church for their start. They have nothing but small plots of 
bare land, barren by nature, and are obliged from the very start to yield tithes yearly 
of all they produce; to give their labor to make the ditch which brings them water, and 
buy back their debts to the church with interest. Yet these peasants are enabled to 


make homes for themselves, which, though plain, are not uncomfortable, and to steadily 
improve their credit, though trading at the store established in the church interest, 
which is not obliged to offer the lowest prices. 

With these lessons in the value of intense culture, it is not surprising that the most 
intelligent and most enterprising irrigators desert grain-growing for either stock-raising 
or fruit-growing as quickly as possible, nor that the newspapers and authorities of weight 
are persistently bringing before the eyes of others the relatively unprofitable character 
of wheat-growing, and urging them to attempt higher culture, for its increase means the 
increase of population and of natural wealth Railway accountants in California cal- 
culate that an acre in vines gives as much freight as 9 acres of grain. A 640-acre grain 
farm can be managed by a farmer with two grown-up sons, except in harvest time, and 
at all other seasons the broad, bare fields and rude homestead are not indicative of per- 
manent improvements. 

On the Barton vineyard at Fresno, Which has 540 acres under vines, thirty men are 
employed all the year round, without pickers. The winery, which is to receive the 
600,000 gallons upon which the proprietor calculates, is a great building, 330 feet long by 
96 feet wide, besides which there is a distillery and office in addition to the usual farm 
buildings surrounding a handsome residence and garden. The capital invested is £60,000 
and the amount spent annually upon the 330,000 vines nearly £5,000. Thus under 
intense culture the same area as the grain farm is made to produce a hundred-fold. With 
640 acres under grain a farmer's position is precarious without irrigation, and but poorly 
profitable with it. Under fruit or vines it is a great estate and its owner a wealthy man. 
The Barton vines are used to produce wine, while on small holdings they are usually 
employed to make raisins. It is calculated that the value of the products of Riverside 
will in the course of a few years be £200,000 per annum, and, though the oldest, it is 
not the best managed colony in California. 


Though there are lessons in American experience, already referred to, which have con- 
vinced the leading politicians of the States interested that certain legislative and admin- 
istrative duties should be undertaken by the Government, there is nothing either in their 
policy nor in their experience which casts any direct light upon the problem whether 
the State should assume any other attitude towards the man who increases the natural 
production and his own wealth by irrigating than it assumes towards the man who 
accomplishes the same results by reclaiming or clearing his land. The conclusions as to 
State action which have been accepted among so self-reliant a people would be worthy 
oi attention, if it were only because of the national tendency to which, in a measure, they 
run counter. 

Though they have been alluded to before they are of so much moment that they will 
bear repetition, more especially as, if now called upon to offer suggestions as to the duty 
of the State towards irrigation, I could find firm foothold in American precedent for just 
the recommendations which would be made by the irrigators of Colorado or California. 


Their verdict, based in the first five instances upon a practical trial in one or other of the 
irrigating States of the course advised is, that — 

(1) It is essential that the State should exercise the supreme control of ownership over 
all rivers, lakes, streams, and sources of water supply, except springs rising upon private 

(2) That it should dispose of the water to those desiring to irrigate on such terms and 
conditions and to such an extent as may be determined by professional or qualified offi- 
cers of its own, its object being to encourage the greatest possible utilization of the water 
on the largest possible area. 

(3) To insure this it should establish a scale of water measurement and insist upon 
its employment in all transactions relating to water. 

(4) TheState should appoint local water-masters to supervise the distribution of water, 
settle disputes, and exercise such a jurisdiction under a central office as shall guarantee 
the preservation of water courses and other sources of supply. 

(5) Power should be given to holders of water-rights to obtain easements over private 
lands on payment of compensation and proof that the route asked for by them has been 
selected for sufficient reasons. 

(6) The State should furnish the fullest information as to the natural capacities of its 
territory for irrigation. The United States has already recognized its obligation in this 


(7) In California it is also held that to prevent all irrigation from necessarily fall" 
ing into the hands of capitalists, or any scheme for the general benefit from being nega~ 
tivedbyoneor two refractory land-owners, there should be a means of organizing irri- 
gation areas and creating corporations for them, who should be capable, at the bidding 
of a majority of those interested, of doing all things necessary to the construction of 
works and distribution of water by means of funds borrowed upon the common security. 
Here, again, the State officers would be employed in protecting the public interest and 
testing the plans of proj ectors. 

It seems to me, however, that without departing from methods approved elsewhere, 
we might go farther and adopt some of the minor forms of St ate encouragement already 
in operation in Europe. Even in America, judging from what is sometimes done in 
other ways, there would be little opposition to proposals for holding out inducements 
to the study of irrigation, theoretically and practically, as best adapted to local con- 
ditions. Such means of encouragement are used in France, in which country may be 
found a precedent for the dispatch of the writer to Western America, where, some two 
years ago, a similar visit, with exactly the same objects, was paid by an official repre- 
sentative of the French Government. 

Appendix No. 2 


Through the courtesy of the Mexican minister in this city, SeGor Don Matias Eornero, 
and of the Government of the Mexican Republic, the information given below in regard 
to water supplies and irrigation in Mexico has been collected through the state and local 
authorities of that country and made available for the use of the Department in this 

On the 24th of December, 1885, a letter was addressed to Mr. Romero requesting him 
to furnish the Department with such information regarding the water courses and springs 
of Mexico, the system of irrigation there in operation, and the laws bearing upon that 
subject as he might have at hand. 

The following reply was promptly received from Mr. Romero: 

Respected Sir: Permit me to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of 
yesterday, in which you ask me for information regarding the water courses and the 
supply and irrigation in Mexico or the laws relative to the subject which I may have at 
hand, and requesting that the same be sent to Hon. J. R. Dodge, Statistician of your 

I have written to my government requesting that these documents be forwarded to Mr. 
Dodge, according to your orders, as soon as possible. 
Meanwhile, I remain, very respectfully, 

M. Romero. 
To Hon. Norman J. Coalman. 

Commissioner of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. 

On the 5th of January, 1886, a letter was addressed by Senor Eduardo Garay, of the 
Mexican department of state and foreign relations, to the minister of public works, re- 
questing the latter to furnish the information indicated in the letter of Mr. Romero. On 
behalf of the ministry of public works SeQor M. Fernandez replied that no official data 
on the subject of water supplies and irrigation in Mexico were in possession of that de- 
partment, but as regards legislation on the subject the ancient Spanish laws had been 
adopted in federal affairs, while in local concerns the civil codes of the respective states 
or districts were observed in the measurement of water, in accordance with the statute 
of August 2, 1863. He added, however, that in a circular addressed to the governors of 
the states, the federal, district, and the territories, he had requested information on the 
subject, which would be communicated as soon as practicable. The circular referred to 
bears date February 22, 1886, and the following is a translation of that portion of it which 
related to the subject under consideration: 

' ' Sec. 4. Being frequently called upon by foreigners for reports upon the water supplies 
for agricultural and other industries, as well as for information regarding legislation 
upon this subject, and believing it to be of great importance to be able to give exact data 
upon these points, I beg you to furnish to this department accurate reports relative to 
the currents and courses of water in your state, explaining, if possible, at what point 
each river has its source, and into what water it empties, the localities through which 
it flows, and the uses which are made of its waters — giving an idea (even approximate) 
of the volume of water in cubic meters, stating, besides, whether the waters are permanent; 
i. e. , whether the flow is continuous or whether they flow only a part of the year. 

' ' In the latter case state the months in which they flow. Of equal importance is other 
information relative to natural? deposits of water, such as lakes or lagoons, and ponds, 
also artificial deposits, such as cisterns and reservoirs, giving their length, width, and 



' ' Give also complete information respecting the laws of your state which govern the 
uses of water for irrigation and as water-power. I also recommend to you that in accepting 
this mission for the government you should use the utmost care that the data be exact, 
and that the information be given in a clear and concise manner, to the end that in giv- 
ing publicity to the same the greatest amount of usefulness may be obtained for the ben- 
efit of our republic and of foreign countries." 

In reply to this circular a large amount of information was soon forwarded from local 
authorities to the central Government of Mexico, showing in much detail the sources and 
courses of streams, with estimates of their volume and other particulars, as well as many 
facts in relation to other water supplies mentioned in the circular. So far as it relates 
directly to irrigation, the information for different States and Territories thus far pub- 
lished in documents received from the Mexican Government is summarized below. 


The sub-prefect of the northern part of Lower California, reporting on the water sup- 
plies of that district, mentions the Colorado as the only important river in the district, 
and refers to information in regard to that stream already in possession of the Mexican 
Government. After enumerating various smaller streams and a few ponds and lagoons, 
which furnish drinking places for cattle, he says: 

"None of the waters to which I have referred are used for agricultural purposes, be- 
cause the small grains — oats, wheat, and barley — which are cultivated in this district 
belong to the temperate zone and are grown in winter. Corn, beans, and other products 
of this nature are planted only in damp soil, which does not need irrigation." 


The political chief of Oro, in the State of Durango, writes to the secretary of state of 
that commonwealth that in the district under his authority there are thirteen hot springs, 
some of which are used to good advantage in the irrigation of gardens. The rivers which 
fertilize a large part of the district are the Ramos and the Sestin, which unite to form 
the Nazas. The Sestin, from the neighborhood of Cerro Prieta to its confluence with the 
Ramos, has a length of about 60 leagues (156 miles), its greatest breadth being about 328 
feet, and its general depth about 5 feet. The Ramos has a length of about 31 miles, with 
an extreme breadth of about 260 feet and an average depth of somewhat over 3 feet. The 
waters of these streams, whose volume maybe estimated at about 25 cubic meters (882 cubic 
feet), are utilized in agriculture with very good results, wheat and maize being the favorite 
crops, and yielding the best returns when the precipitation of the rainy season is largest. 
Besides these rivers there are many small streams which, without being permanent 
throughout the year, afford sufficient water to make them useful in the irrigation of 
gardens. There are some unimportant ponds in the district, but no lakes or lagoons. 

A law passed by the legislature of Durango, and dated November 11, 1881, contains 
substantially the following provisions: 

No one is allowed to construct on the rivers or other waters belonging to the public, 
or along their banks, any new works, or to alter existing ones in such a manner as to 
change the direction, height, breadth, or depth of the dams, dikes, or aqueducts, with- 
out previous license from the public authorities. 

Any person desiring such a license is* required to state in writing to the proper local 
authority the kind of work which he proposes to execute, the materials of which it is 
to be constructed, its dimensions, and other necessary particulars, and the place where 
it is to be made. 

The authority receiving application for license to construct works on the public waters 
or their aqueducts will note in writing the day and the hour in which it was presented, 
and will give the desired record of it. The same authority will publish the petition by 
posters in the locality in which the petitioner resides or by newspaper if there is one. 
A copy thereof will be furnished to the corporation attorney, so that within eight days 
the latter may give his opinion whether the proposed work will or will not be preju- 
dicial to the public interests. This opinion will then be sent with the petition itself to 
the state government. The opinion of the attorney will be accompanied by that of an 
expert consulted by him, whose fees will be paid by the petitioner. 

The petition, having been received by the state government, will be published in *be 
next three issues of the official journal. If during its publication, or within eight days 
thereafter, no opposition is made to the proposed work, and if no objection shall have been 
set forth in the opinion of the corporation attorney, the state government will authorize 
the execution of the work, and will cause copies of alfrecords in the case to be sent to 
the party interested, for whom they shall serve as evidence of title. The same should 
also be inscribed in the public register of property. 


Any one desiring to oppose the execution of a work must present himself in writing 
to the state government within the period indicated in the last paragraph. On receiving 
such notice of opposition the government shall immediately have it sent, with a record 
of all its antecedents, to the judge having primary jurisdiction in the locality to which 
the proposed work appertains, in order that he may decide whether or not he ought to 
prevent its execution on account of its being in conflict with some acquired right, or 
causing, either to the public or to the individual opposing it, detriment for which indem- 
nity cannot be obtained. 

If the damage which the work would cause is such as can be indemnified, the judge 
shall cite the person proposing to construct the work and the person opposing it to a 
verbal conference, to the end that they may mutually agree on the indemnity to be paid. 

Whenever it shall appear that the opposition to a work is unfounded, the person mak- 
ing the opposition shall pay the costs of the proceedings thereby necessitated ; and if 
there shall also appear to be rashness or malice in the opposition its author shall indem- 
nify the party opposed for all the damages suffered through the delay in carrying out 
the work. 

The amount of indemnity having been fixed, the work shall not commence until it is 

Judicial proceedings arising under this act will be in summary form, as provided by 
the code of civil procedure. 

A decree having been pronounced, the records received from the State government 
must be returned, and with them must be sent an attested statement of the action of 
the local tribunal. 

Changing the course of a river or other stream of public use, or draining off its waters 
by means of works constructed in it or on its banks, is absolutely forbidden. 

In cases of urgent necessity, to prevent inundation, the destruction of embankments, 
reservoirs, or aqueducts, or other damages equally serious, permission may be granted for 
the construction of such works as the authorities may deem necessary. But if any 
work constructed under such circumstances would interfere with other works previously 
existing, it cannot remain longer than the circumstances continue which render it neces- 
sary, unless permission be obtained under the provisions of this act, and such permission 
shall be applied for within three days after that of the local authorities is solicited. 
The latter authorities are required to apprise the State government of their action in 
cases of the class to which this paragraph refers. 

The preceding provisions do not apply to the partial or total reconstruction of works 
already existing, or which have been executed according to this law, and which are not 
to be changed in their direction, height, breadth, and depth. A person having occasion 
to make partial or total reconstruction of any work conformably to this paragraph must 
notify the local authorities, so that they may assure themselves that the work proposed 
is really one of repair or reconstruction. 

So far as they are not in conflict with the present law, the provisions of the civil code 
and code of procedure relative to the use of public waters, or to servitudes or works con- 
nected therewith, are left in force. 

This law was promulgated on the 10th of November, 1881. 


Under date of Guadalajara, May 1, 1886, a report on the streams and other water sup- 
plies of this state was addressed to the minister of public works. The following par- 
ticulars bearing on irrigation are obtained from this communication : 

The principal rivers which traverse this State are the Cuitzeo (sometimes called the 
Tololotlan) of Santiago, or Grande, the Verde, the Juchipila, the Lerma, the Zula, or 
Atotonilco, the Ayuquila, the Tuxpan, the Chacala, the Ameca, the Bolanos, the Apa- 
zalco, the San Pedro, the Acaponeta, theCauas, and theCamotlan, most of which are also 
known under other names. The largest of these streams is the Cuitzeo, which rises in 
the town of that name, and after a course of 98 leagues (255 miles) enters the ocean to 
the northwest of San Bias. Its average flow is about 111 cubic meters (3,920 cubic feet) of 
water per second, and its use in irrigation, which is now smaH, might be largely in- 
creased. Opposite the town of Juanacatlan there is a cataract about 65 1 feet in height, 
which would furnish power to the amount of about 30,000 horse-power, of which only 
the amount required for one flour-mill is now utilized. There are many points along 
this river, or near it, where hydraulic wheels after Poncelet's system could be advan- 
tageously used. 

The Verde, which rises in the State of Zacatecas, is a tributary of the Cuitzeo, and for 
a distance of 47 leagues (122 miles) its course lies within the State of Jalisco. Its waters, 
which have a flow of 50 cubic meters (1,766 cubic feet) per second, are utilized in irriga- 
S. Mis. 15 15 


tion to some extent, and by means of lateral canals they might be largely employed in 
working hydraulic motors. 

The Juckipila, another tributary of the Cuitzeo, rises in Zacatecas, and its course lies 
within the State of Jalisco for only 17 leagues (about 44 miles). It has au average flow 
of 16 cubic meters (565 cubic feet) per second, and is utilized in irrigation. 

The Lernia. which rises in the Almoloya region of the State of Mexico and empties 
into Lake Chapala al Oriente, flows through Jalisco only 12 leagues (about 29 miles). 
It has an average flow of 80 cubic meters (2,825 cubic feet) per second, but is available 
for irrigation only when its waters are high. This stream presents more advantages in 
the States of Michoacan and Guanajuato than in Jalisco. 

The Zula rises within the State, and has a course of 30 leagues (78 miles) before 
emptying into the Cuitzeo. It has a flow of 8 cubic meters (282 cubic feet) per second, 
and its waters are employed on a small scale in irrigation. 

The Ayuquila rises within the State, and after a course of 70 leagues (182 miles) 
empties directly into the Pacific. It has a rapid current throughout almost its whole 
length, and although it has an average flow of 30 cubic meters (1,059 cubic feet) per 
second, it serves to irrigateionly small areas. 

The Tuxpan rises within the State and empties into the Pacific, receiving in its course 
of 60 leagues (156 miles) the waters of numerous tributaries which rise in the spurs of 
the volcano of Colima. It is somewhat rapid and has an average flow of 28 cubic meters 
(989 cubic feet) per second. Its waters are employed to some extent in irrigation, but 
not so much in this State as in Colima. 

The Ameca rises within the State, has a length of more than 55 leagues (143 miles), 
and empties into the bay of Banderas, on the Pacific coast. It is a fltie stream, having 
an average flow of 20 cubic meters (706 cubic feet) per second, and is capable of being 
utilized in agriculture. 

The Bolalios rises within the State, and after a course of about 48 leagues (125 miles) 
empties into the Cuitzeo. It has a rapid current, with an average flow of 15 cubic me- 
ters (530 cubic feet) per second. It is utilized in agriculture. 

Several other streams, with volumes ranging from 2 to 10 meters (71 to 353 cubic feet) 
per second, are more or less used in agriculture; but the principal use both of these and 
those designated by name above is in stock-raising. There are also innumerable small 
streams, tributaries of the larger ones. 

The most noteworthy lakes in this State are those of Chapala, Magdalena, Mexcalti- 
tan, Atemanica, Cajititlan, San Marcos, Zacoalco, Atoyac, Sayula, Zapotlan, and Santa 
Maria del Oro, besides which there are many others, which, although smaller and not so 
well known, are nevertheless of great utility. 

Lake Chapala is 90 kilometers (56 miles) long, and has an average width of about 17 
kilometers (about -10^ miles). It is the most important lake in the State, whether con- 
sidered with reference to the facilities it affords for internal navigation or to its utility 
in agriculture and stock-raising to the people along its shores; and by means of canals, 
especially one connecting it with the Ameca River, its waters might be more extensively 
utilized for both of these purposes. The other lakes mentioned are much smaller than 
Lake Chapala. With the exception of Lakes San Marcos, Zocoalco, Atoyac, and Sayula, 
they all have potable waters; and the same is true of the numerous smaller ones not 
mentioned by name. 

There are tew permanent irrigation works in the State, mere temporary appliances being 
generally used to draw off the water for irrigation or for live-stock. The wcrks at Bella- 
vista, executed with great skill by Sefior D. Gabriel Castauos, should, however, be 
mentioned as a noteworthy exception to this rule. 

In No. 14 of the series of official publications from which the above information is 
taken there are reports from several localities in this State, but none referring to any work 
of importance for irrigation or to any use of water for that purpose except on an insig- 
nificant scale. 

In No. 16 there are reports from several districts. In the municipality of Atemajac 
de las Tablas (in the district of the same name) there are four reservoirs, but their chief 
use is the storage of water power for flouring and saw mills. In the municipality of 
Tescuitatlan there is a public reservoir known as the Santa Rosa, in which rain-water 
is stored. Its length is 502 meters and its breadth 260. In the municipality ofTizapan 
el Alto there is one reservoir — that ot Las Cuartas — in which enough water is stored for 
the irrigation of a small area on one ranch. 

Reports are published from many other municipalities, and numerous small streams 
and springs are referred to as furnishing water for the irrigation of orchards, gardens, or 
fields. The aggregate area fertilized by their water is quite large, but there are scarcely 
any among them that have a volume of more than 1 or 2 cubic meters per second, and 
no important works are reported for making an increased area available to irrigation. 



Under date of Ario, March 22, 1886, Sefior J. Medal furnishes the department of pub- 
lic works with a brief report on the hydrographic features of this State, which, he says, 
have never been studied, and are but little known. The principal streams which lie 
wholly or partly within the limits of the State are the Lerma, the Balsas, the Marques, 
the Tepalca + epec, the Duero, the Astula, the Apisa, the Rio Grande de Morelia, and the 

The Lerma is provided with dams and reservoirs to facilitate irrigation, and several 
towns or villages and forty farms along that part of the river embraced within the 
limits of Michoacan avail themselves of its waters to irrigate wheat, maize, chick-peas, 
&c. In the Duero and the Morelia there are some small dams. The other streams are 
turned to little account, partly because of the broken character of the districts through 
which they run, and partly because of the limited extent to which agriculture in those 
districts is carried on. The volume of water in these streams is very large. The Balsas, 
for example, empties into the sea with a volume of 132 bueyes, 12 surcos of water ;* and 
the Marques at a point called the Juntas, before receiving its last tributaries, has a flow 
of 44 bueycs. In the southern districts of the State irrigation is used in the cultivation 
of sugar-gane, indigo, and rice, each estate having one source or more from which a sup- 
ply of water is obtained. The water is conveyed to the fields in covered conduits. 

The population is generally located near the streams, and there are but few who have 
occasion to resort to wells. Such wells as there are range from 10 to 20 varas-f in depth 
in the case of the deep ones, while the others range from 2 to 10 varas. 

It is worthy of remark that in the higher and colder parts of the State the springs and 
fountains are permanent throughout the year and maintain a medium temperature 
throughout the day. In the hot part of the State the streams are more numerous, but 
many of them run dry in October, and do not flow again until the end of May. The 
chief cause of their disappearance is readily found in the rapid evaporation which occurs 
in such hot climates. According to observations made at Churumuco in May, 1883, a 
cubic meter of water exposed to a dry, hot atmosphere, the temperature being about 100° 
Fahr., lost by evaporation 2 to 2% liters per hour, while observations made at Lake 
Sirahuen, with a temperature of about 59°, showed a loss of hardly one-fourth of a liter 
in the same time. 

In No. 15 of this series of publications some additional information is furnished in a 
report from the district of Tacambaro in this State. 

The stream known in different parts of its course as the ' ' Caramecuara, " " Las Joyas, ' ' 
and ' ' San Juan' ' is used for the irrigation of 20 caballerias X of land belonging to the dif- 
ferent estates through which it flows before uniting with the Tacambaro; while the lat- 
ter, which has a volume of 3 bueyes in the dry season and an average of 8 bueyes during 
the rainy one, irrigates 6 caballerias of farming land, as well as the fields and kitchen 
gardens near the city of Tacambaro. The Turivan has an average volume of 4 bueyes 
through the dry season, and in its whole course through the district irrigates 12 cabal- 
lerias of land. The Puruaran, or Caliente, has a volume of 5 bueyes and 4 surcos from 
November to June, and from June to November its flow is considerably augmented by 
the rains. It irrigates about 7 caballerias. These four streams, with fourteen smaller 
ones, none of which irrigate more than a few hundred acres of land, have an aggregate 
volume of about 26 bueyes of water, and serve for the irrigation of an aggregate area of 
55 caballerias (5,585 acres) of land. A small addition should be made to this total for 
areas irrigated from springs, ponds, and swamps. 


Senor Teodoro E. Iturbide, under date of March 26, 1886, makes a report, from which 
the following particulars are taken: 

In the district of Coatlan there are three rivers — the Amacusac, the Chalma, and the 
Tambembe. The Amacusac is formed by the union of the San Geronimo and the 
Chontalcuatlan, their confluence being a short distance outside of the district. The 
waters of the San Geronimo are utilized for irrigation on many wheat farms in the dis- 
trict of Villa Guerrero, or Tecualoya. During the rainy season it has a flow of about 35 
cubic meters (1236 cubic feet). The Chontalcuatlan, which receives a number of tribu- 

* The buey is a somewhat indefinite expression, meaning a stream of water as large 
as the body of an ox, while the surco is the quantity conveyed in a furrow made for the 
purpose in irrigating land. Some years after the adoption of the metric system a decree 
was issued making 6? liters (a little less than 1.72 gallons) per second the equivalent of 
the surco. 

f The vara is a measure of about 2 feet 9 inches in length. 

J A caballeria = about 107 acres. 


taries, furnishes water-power to many small factories, and its waters are utilized to some 
extent in mining. After watering innumerable orchards and gardens along its banks it 
still has a flow of 25 cubic meters (883 cubic feet) in the wet season, and from 10 to 12 
cubic meters (353 to 424 cubic feet) in periods of drought. The Amacusac, formed by the 
union of the two rivers last named, has a flow of 60 cubic meters (2,119 cubic feet) dur- 
ing the rainy season, without including freshets, and in time of drought it has some- 
what less than naif that volume. Thus far but little use has been made of its waters 
in irrigation except for the orchards immediately along its banks. After receiving the 
waters of several tributaries this river takes the name of Rio Grande, and still lower, 
after passing beyond the limits of Morelos and uniting with the Pueblo, it is known as 
the Mezcala or Balsas until it reaches the sea at Zacatula. 

The Chalma is the most important river in the district, not in respect to size, but on 
account of the fertility which it confers on the many towns and districts through which 
it flows. It rises in the State of Mexico, rapidly increasing in size as it receives the 
waters of numerous springs and rivulets, and becoming a considerable stream before 
"entering Morelos. It waters extensive tracts of level lands in the vicinity of the sugar 
mills of Cocoyotla, Actopan, Santa Cruz, San Gabriel, and the estate of Cuachichinola, 
and at the same time irrigates the fields in the towns of Coatlan del Rio, Tetecala, Ma- 
zatepec, San Miguel Cuantla, Cuachichinola, and Puente de Ixtla. It has a flow of 25 
or 30 cubic meters (8S3 to 1.059 cubic feet) during the rainy season, and 10 to 12 cubic 
meters (353 to 423 cubic feet) during the dry months. 

The Tembembe is scarcely utilized at all in irrigation. Its flow during the wet season 
equals and often exceeds that of the Chalma, but during the rainless months it runs 
almost dry. 

There is only one dam in the district of Coatlan del Rio. This was constructed in the 
Tembembe River, at a cost of about $20,000, for the irrigation of the extensive fields of the 
Miacatlan estate; and it also serves to supply the town of the same name with water. 
It is considered a meritorious piece of work in respect to its architecture, its extent, and 
its solid construction. The district being well supplied with water, there are no reser- 
voirs for its storage. 

The laws which govern the distribution of water are understood by the writer of the 
report to be those comprised in the civil code of the federal district and of the Territory 
of Lower California, this code being in force in Morelos. 


District of Cuicatlan. — Senor F. Villasenor reports on the different subdivisions of this 
district, under date of March 27, 1836. A river known as the Rio Grande, which empties 
into the Papaloapam, flows through this district and furnishes water ibr irrigation at 
many points along its course. Its volume in the rainy season amounts to 200 cubic me- 
ters per second, or more ; but during the dry months it falls to four or five meters. Of 
its smaller tributaries there are many which dry up during the latter portion of the year, 
but it also receives a considerable number of permanent streams, most of which are more 
or less utilized in the irrigation of maize, sugar-cane, or other crops. 

District of Tiaxiaco. — Sellor Rafael F. Lanza, reports from this district, under date of 
March 20, 1886. He enumerates many small streams, giving their source, direction, 
estimated volume, &c. , the latter in most cases falling below one cubic meter per second 
during the dry season. Most of these streams are utilized to some extent in the irriga- 
tion of crops, besides furnishing water-power for mills. There are no large rivers in the 

District of Yautepec. — Seiior AugustinR. Arenas reports on this district, under date of 
March 29, 1886. The most important stream within its limits is the Rio Grande de 
Tehuantepec, which rises in the mountains of Quiechapa and Mixtepequez, in the district 
of Mihautlan, and empties into the Pacific 10 or 12 miles from Tehuantepec. *The aver- 
age flow at the lowest estimate is about 5 bueyes* per second. It is utilized in irrigating 
sugar-cane and maize at certain points along its course. There are also several smaller 
streams which are turned to account for the same purpose. Owing to the smallness of 
the rainfall the streams in this district have greatly diminished in size, and there are no 
important bodies of water of any kind within its limits, nor have any laws been enacted 
on the subject of water distribution. 

District of Ocampo. — The principal rivers which traverse this district are the Villa 
Alta and the Rio Mudo. The character of the country is not favorable to irrigation, and 
the streams which flow through it, though many of them are constant, are not turned to 
account for that purpose. The same remark will apply to the waters of a number of 
email lagoons found within its limits. 

*Seep. 227. 


District of Choapam. — A report from this district dated April 8, 1886, enumerates vari- 
ous streams, but none ■whose waters are utilized in irrigation. As regards rights to the 
use of water, the ancient Spanish ordinances in relation to lands and waters are in force. 

District of Tuxtepec. — A report from this district enumerates various rivers, lakes, and 
lagoons, but adds, that no irrigation is needed because of the abundant rainfall. The 
provisions of the civil code of the federal district, amended in some few particulars, 
are legally in force under State authority, but in the absence of any need for the appro- 
priation of water, difficulties in regard to water rights seldom arise. 

District of Juchitan. — In a report from this district it is stated that there is scarcely 
any irrigation practiced within its limits, there being comparatively little need of it. A 
project is, however, mentioned for utilizing the waters of the Astula River for the irri- 
gation of a tract 7 leagues (18.2 miles) in length by 4 leagues (10.4 miles) in breadth on 
the Piedra Parada estate near Ishuatan. The Astula, which is the principal river in 
the district, has a volume of 8 cubic meters during the dry season, and its plains are re- 
fer red to as " wide and fertile. ' ' 

District of Teposcolula. — Reports from the municipalities in this district enumerate 
many small streams and springs and some lakes of small extent, but none which are used in 

Reports from a number of municipalities mention irrigation as practiced on a small scale 
within their limits. The mayor or president of each municipality annually appoints an 
officer, whose duty it is to distribute the w aters in fair proportion among those having 
fields or gardens to irrigate. 


Senor A. Fontecilla, replying to the circular of the minister of public works, writes 
from Teziutlan under date of March 21, 1886, to the effect that no statistics in regard to 
water supply have been collected. He mentions, however, such streams as are within 
his own knowledge, the Chignautla, a creek which empties into the Saint Peter and Saint 
Paul River, being specified as one whose waters are used in the irrigation of some small 
areas on the outskirts of Teziutlan. This stream is described as being admirably adapted 
to the purpose of furnishing power for mills and factories, its volume being almost with- 
out change throughout the year, and its descent uniform and sufficiently rapid. 


Senor Bernabe Loyola, replying to the circular of the minister of public works, writes 
from Juriquilla under date of March 11, 1886. His report relates only to the neighbor- 
hood of Juriquilla, where there are four small and unimportant reservoirs; but he 
states that he himself is constructing one which will contain 1 , 100, 000 cubic meters of 
water, and will command a large part of the valley of Queretaro. On an estate to the 
north of Juriquilla there are two good reservoirs, but they are d ependent on the rains 
for their supply of water, and have only been filled six times in the last twenty-seven 
years. The largest one, known as the Santa Catarina, is 2,500 meters* long by 900 wide 
and 6 deep. The other, known as the Pinto, is 1,275 meters long by 600 wide and 4 
deep. A reservoir of small size is found on the San Miguelito estate, northwest of 
Juriquilla. It is of little importance, but serves to irrigate some limited areas of tilled 

Senor A. M. Veraza, writing from Queretaro under date of April 8, 1886, gives a 
more general account of the water supplies of the State, enumerating many permanent 
streams whose waters are used in irrigation, but none having a volume of more than a 
few cubic meters. He also mentions a number of small lakes and lagoons, with some 
of the most important springs in the State. 

There has been no State legislation especially bearing on the use of water, which is 
regulated by the civil code, the Spanish laws, and the ancient ordinances of land and 
water, according to their respective dates. 


The reports from this State relate only to a few localities and do not embrace accounts 
of any of its larger rivers. Its situation in the northeastern part of the republic, with 
the Gulf of Mexico bordering it on the east, renders it comparatively independent of 
any artificial means of supplying the crops with water. 

A report to the State government from the council of Nuevo Laredo mentions the 
Rio Bravo as the only source of water for live-stock in the dry season. During the 
rainy season it is subject to heavy floods and overflows the bottom lands along its banks 
on which the farmers raise sure and abundant crops. 

* The meter =3937. inches. 



Sefior Carlos Lennox Kennedy, writing from the agricultural agency of the department 
of public works at San Juan Atoyac, Tlaxcala, under date of April 15, 1886, makes a 
brief report to the minister of public works on the water supplies of this State. He 
mentions the Zahuapan and the Atoyac as the only streams deserving the name of rivers. 
The former, which is tributary to the latter, is utilized between the town of Apetatitlan 
and its confluence with the Atoyac, by eleven estates, six towns, and a number of small 
farms, while it also furnishes water-power to -several mills and factories. It is, how- 
ever, but a small stream, its volume during the dry season not exceeding lj cubic meters 
per second, after receiving the waters of many springs and rills. 

There is no place of any considerable population on the Atoyac, but it furnishes water 
for the irrigation of ten estates and the supply of six towns. In the rainy seaosn it is a 
roaring torrent, swollen by the waters which pour into it from the mountains, but dur- 
ing the dry weather it dwindles to a volume of about 4 cubic meters per second. 

In the eastern part of the State reservoirs are used for the storage of rain water, that 
being the only means by which a reliable supply for man and animals can be secured. 
These reservoirs vary in size according to the needs of the localities where they are sit- 

There has been no legislation in this State to regulate the appropriation of water for 
irrigation or motive power. The proprietors of land and manufacturing establishments 
•use the waters of the rivers in accordance with the privileges conceded by the colonial 
government in the original titles to their property; and those who do not enjoy such 
rights have recourse to the authorities of the municipality controlling the water which 
they desire to use, and are allowed to take the water needed for irrigation subject to an 
annual tax, which goes into the municipal treasury. 


Senor Jose" Manuel Jauregui, writing from Jalapa under date of April 24, 1886, trans- 
mits to the minister of public works a report from the chief civil officer of the district 
of Papantla, who states that the wateT courses of that district are not utilized in agri- 
culture or in manufactures. In the former no machinery is used, nor is there any resort 
to irrigation, and when there is a prolonged drought the consequences are severely felt, 
the agriculturists making no efforts to utilize the waters that are at hand, but con- 
tenting themselves with the hope of rain while their crops perish. 

Legislation on the subject of water is only rudimentary. 

The principal rivers of the district are the Saint Peter and Saint Paul (one river) and 
theCazones, both of which are navigable for short distances. No estimate is given as to 
their volume and no information as to irrigation, either on these streams or their tribu- 
taries, within the district. 

A return from the district of Acayrican enumerates many small streams, including a 
number of arroyos which disappear during the dry season, but no mention is made of 
any use of these waters for irrigation. 

A report from Orizaba enumerates various streams, some of which are used to a small 
extent in irrigation; but the largest (the Ingenio) has a flow of only 5 J cubic meters, 
while some of the others dwindle during the dry season to less than 1 meter. 

From a list of the principal rivers which rise and flow through the State of Vera Cruz, 
those having a length of 40 leagues (104 miles) or upwards are presented below: 

Panuco, Tamesi, Moctezuma. Calabozo, or San Juan, De los Hules, San Pedro, San 
Marcos, or Cazones, Tecolutla, orS. Pedro and S. Pablo, Mautla, or Rio Frio, Papaloapam, 
or Quiotepec, Tesechoacan, Zapotla, or San Juan, Blanco, Coatzacoalcos. 


Reports have been sent to the ministry of public works from a few localities in this 
State. One from the municipality of Sain Alto mentions two streams and a number of 
springs which are used to a considerable extent in irrigation. The larger stream has a 
course of 6 leagues (about 16 miles) and a volume of 30 surcos. As regards water 
rights, the rule is that the different landed proprietors ' ' take what water they need 
where their property is crossed by a stream, leaving the rest for others." There is some 
irrigation from small streams in other municipalities heard from. 

A report from Nochistlan mentions a few unimportant rivers and two small reservoirs 
which serve to irrigate small areas of land; and one from Juchipila mentions a stream 
from which considerable water is obtained for the irrigation of orchards and gardens 
along its course, the quantity being increased at one point by a reservoir wherein water 
is saved for use during the dry season. 



A report from the agricultural agency in Tianguistengo mentions a few small streams, 
but gives no account of any use of their waters for irrigation . There are no lakes, swamps, 
or reservoirs within the jurisdiction of the town named, but numerous rills and brooks, 
are found in all directions. 


While the information at hand is presented under the heads of the different States, 
it does not in any case purport to be exhaustive, and in the case of several States, it will 
be remembered, only a few localities have been heard from. "When all the reports shall 
have been received the Government of Mexico will be in possession of much valuable 
material in respect to the hydrographic system of the country and its relation to agri- 
culture and other industries. 


Agricultural and grazing characteristics of Colo- 
rado. 37 
capabilities of Arizona, 26 
facilities of Nebraska, 148 
fertility of Grand Valley, Colorado, 
Alfalfa, value of, 216 

yield of, in Arizona, 116 

Colorado, 39, 127 
Altitude, average, of Nevada, 35 

of valleys in California, 16 

Conejos County, Colorado, 
Wyoming, 108 
Anaheim irrigation works, 75 

water facilities of, 74, 75 
Aughey, Prof. Samuel, on fertility of soil and 

increase of humidity, 146, 147 
Arboriculture, progress and prospects of, in— 
Kansas, 47, 148, 149 
Nebraska, 47, 148, 149 
Arboriculture, "Robert W.lTurnass on, 148 
Area and boundaries of the Great Plains, 150 
extension of the irrigation, 211, 212 
in cultivation in Arizona, 26 
irrigable by a second-foot of water in Colo- 
rado, 39 
Area of irrigable and irrigated lands in- 
New Mexico, 113 
Colorado, 40, 126, 127, 128 
Texas, 118 
Area of the arid region, 5, 6 

the Intra-Mountain Division, 19 

timber lands in Nevada, Oregon, and 

Washington Territory, 35 
Wyoming, 108 
requiring irrigation in Utah, 110 
subject to irrigation in California, 73, 78 
Arid area of the United States, 201 
lands of America, 197, 198 
region, area, boundaries, and divisions of 
the, 5, 6, 7, 8 
scope of inquiry in relation to the, 5 
Aridity, cause of in Arizona, 28 
Arizona, area of, in cultivation, 26 
aridity, cause of, in, 28 
canals and ditches, 34, 116 
chemical combinations of the soil in, 26 
"Cienegas" in, 28 
colonies and enterprises in, 115 
crops, average value of, in, 115, 116 
dams at Phenix, 49 

Arizona, divisions of, with reference to agricult 
ural capabilities, 26 
fruit culture in, 27, 28, 116 
Gila Valley, 27, 28 
irrigation and water laws of, 157, 158 

canals, extent and cost of, in 

Pinal County, 118 
effect of, on atmosphere, 

health, and soil, 116, 117 
works, extent, character, and 
cost of, 28, 34, 49, 50, 
116, 117 
natural reservoirs 
available for, 28 
lands, irrigable in, 26, 117 

original and present value of, 115 
malaria in, 116 
products of, 115, 116 
rainfall in, 34, 116 
rainy seasons in, 28 

Santa Cruz Valley, productiveness of, 28 
temperature in, 116 
water and irrigation laws of, 157, 158 

companies in Maricopa County, 34 
rates in, 115 
sources of, 116, 117 
Artesian belts in the foot-hills region, 15 

topographical relation of, to mount- 
ain ranges, 42 
waters, danger of cessation of, in San 

Bernardino County, California, 97 
wells in Kem County, California, 77, 78? 
79, 85 
Mexico, 191 
Santa Ana Valley, 76 
Western Kansas, 135, 136 

Nebraska, 46 
Wyoming, 46, 108, 109 
Asbestine system, construction of the, 55 

Mr. Dow, of Melbourne, Aus- 
tralia, on the, 55 
special adaptability of, to or- 
chards and vineyards, 54 
Asphalt pipes, construction of, 57 

California, altitude of valleys of, 16 
artesian water in, 15 

danger of cessation of, 
canals, 58, 59, 71, 72, 79, 80, 83, 84, 85 

list of, 86, 87 
climate of, 13, 14, 58, 76 




•California, climatic conditions of, 69, 70, 71 

coast range, topographical features of, 

colonies and settlements in, 62, 69, 85 
California, construction of— 
canals in, 58, 59 
drains in, 49, 50, 51, 53 
flumes in, 53, 54 

Highland Park water-works, 57 
pipes and conduits, 55, 56 
reservoirs, 61, 62 

tunnels to interrupt subterranean currents, 53 
wrought-iron laminated asphalted pipes, 55 
California, irrigation and water laws, 88, 155 

area of, in San Gabriel val- 
ley, 73 
effects of, on atmosphere, 
health, and soil, 64, 66, 69, 
70, 71, 72, 74, 82, 97, 98 
methods of, 54, 58, 74, 95, 97 
note on, by J. 

"W. North, 71 
note on, by "Will- 
iam Ham Hall, 
works, extent, character, and 
cost of, 52, 54, 61, 71-74, 77, 
78, 83, 84, 85, 95, 97 
project at Tulare Lake, 60 
Klamath Basin, physical features of, 

labor in, 82 
■California lands — 

areas of irrigable and nonirrigable, 68, 69 
fertility and luxuriance of, 14, 16 
irrigable from Kern River, 79 
occupied for cultivation in, 68, 69 
original and present value of, 64, 65, 66 
timber, destruction of, 74 
used for cattle and sheep, 16, 69 
value of mountain, in San Gabriel Valley, 74 
under irrigation in Kern County, 76 
with water supply in, 94, 95 
California, laws on irrigation and water, 88, 91, 155 
mining operations, seat of, 15 
Pasadena, 73, 86 

orange groves, productive- 
ness and value of, at, 73, 74 
principal topographical features of, 10- 

products, 76, 82, 83, 84, 85 
rainfall in, 6-9, 14, 61, 69, 70, 71, 74, 76, 78, 

82, 85 
rivers of, 10 
San Antonio Valley, physical features 

of, 58 
San Gabriel Valley, 73, 74, 75 
San Joaquin Valley, 11-14 
Santa Ana Valley, 75, 76 
temperature of, 69, 70, 71, 72 
tidal overflow and river inundations, 15 
trade winds and coast influences, 16 
Tulare County, productiveness in, 13, 14 
vineyards, special adaptability of the 

asbestine system to, 54 
water distribution in, 17, 18, , 59, 60, 92, 
93, 94, 95 

California, water rates in, 81 

rights for irrigation, cost of, 91, 
92, 95 
s> stem of record for, 90 
supply, Hon. R. M. Widney on, 
sources of subterranean, 
unit of measurement, 90 
wells in, 13, 17, 78, 79, 85 
wheat and grain growing sections in, 15 
Canals, aggregate length of, in Colorado, 39, 42 
and ditches, 34, 49, 50, 118 
construction and cost of, in Utah, 22, 110 
the North Pou 
dre, Colorado, 
of Grand River, Colorado, 58, 
extent and value of, in Kansas, 46 

New Mexico, 37 
in California, 58, 59, 71, 72, 78, 80, 83, 84, 85, 
list of, 71, 72, 86, 87 
Texas, IIS 
Capillary attraction of water, 211 
"Cienegas" in Arizona, 28 
Climate in California, 13, 14, 58, 76 
Idaho, 100 
Kansas, 45 
of America, 200 
Climatic conditions in— 
California, 69, 70, 71 
Colorado, 127, 131 
Idaho, 99 

Kansas, 143, 144, 145, 146 
Montana, 105 
Nevada, 36 
New Mexico, 113 
Oregon, 103, 104 
Coast range, topographical features of the, 110, 112 
Colonies and enterprises in — 
Arizona, 115 
California, 62, 69, 85 
Colorado, 125 • 
Idaho, 98 
Kansas, 141 
Montana, 104 
New Mexico, 112 
Oregon, 102, 103 
"Wyoming, 106 
Colony system, the, 219, 220 

Colorado, agricultural and grazing characteristics 
of, 37 
altitude of valleys in Conejos County, 126 
artesian water belts in, 12 
atmosphere, average of, for thirteen 

years, 133 
canals, aggregate length of, 39, 42 
climatic conditions, rainfall, and temper- 
ature in, 127, 131 
colonies and enterprises, 125 
crops, average value of, 126 
dam at head of North Poudre Canal, 48 
ditches in, 128 
divides, 41 
Grand River Canal works, 49 



Colorado, "Greeley Colony," note on, by J. D. 
Buckley, 129-132 
humidity, effects of cultivation on, in, 43) 

irrigable area by a second foot of water, 

in, 39 
irrigation and water laws, 175, 176 

effects of, on health and rain- 
fall, 127 
Hon. E. L. Nettle- 
ton on, 121 
enterprises, extent and cost 
of, 129, 132, 133 
S. J. Gilmore on, 
132, 133 
methods of, in, 39, 40, 120, 129 
works, extent, 'character, and 
cost of, 48, 126, 127, 
132, 133 
in Gunnison Valley, 
Montezuma Val- 
ley, 48 
land irrigated in, 40, 126, 127, 128 

occupied forcultivation in, 126, 127 
original and present value of, 125, 

used for sheep and cattle, 126, 127 
laws on irrigation and water, 175, 176, 200 
moisture, annual average of, in, 134 
Nettleton, Hon. E. Li, on ownership, con- 
trol, and value of water, 121 
physical features of, 40 
precipitation in the Cache la Poudre 

Valley, 131 
productiveness of, 39 
products of, 126, 129 
rainfall, effects of cultivation on, in, 41, 

43, 44, 134 
rivers, extent available for irrigation, 27 
soil, chemical combinations of, in, 26, 27 
water, cost per acre per annum, 214 

current meter and methods of 

distribution, 124 
districts, canals, ditches, and res- 
ervoirs, 42, 121-124 
privileges, rent, and price of, 125 
rights and State policy, 89 
supply, natural sources of, 120 
systems, 38 

ownership, control and value, 
Hon. E. L. Nettleton on, 121 
Companies, list of irrigation and water, 34, 100, 102, 

109, 112 
Crops, average yield and value of, 103, 105, 112, 113, 

114, 115, 116, 126, 142, 144 
Cultivation, effects of, on the atmosphere, rain- 
fall, &c, 41, 43, 44, 134, 138, 149, 150 

Dakota crops, average yield of, 114 

irrigation works, methods and cost of, 114 

effects of, 114, 115 
land, value of, 114, 115 
physical features of, 114 
products of, 114 

Dams at head of North Poudre Canal, Colorado 
Phenix, Arizona, 49 
construction of, in California, 49, 50, 51, 53 
Desert lands, entries under timber- culture act of 

1873, 47 
Ditches, 34, 46, 99, 103, 128 
Divides or table lands in Colorado and Kansas, 

41, 137 
Divisions of Arizona, with reference to agricult- 
ural capabilities, 26 
the Pacific coast, 9-19 
Distribution of water, 17, 18, 19, 59, 60, 92, 93, 94, 

95, 191 
Dow, Mr., on the asbestine system, 55 
Drainage basins of the Sierras, 35 
Duty of water and its conditions, 111, 212, 213 


Enterprises and colonies, 62, 69, 85, 98, 102, 103, 104, 

106, 112, 115, 125, 141 
irrigation, extent and cost of, 129, 132, 

irrigation, S. J. Gilmore on, 132, 133 

Flumes, construction of, 53, 54 
Foot-hills region, physical features of, 13, 15 
France, irrigation and water laws in, 182-189 
Fruit culture, 28, 116, 118, 148, 149, 217 
Furnass, Hon. Robert, on prospects and progress 
of arboriculture, 140-149 

Gila Valley, 27, 28 
Grand River Canal Works, 49 
" Greeley Colony," note on, by J. D. Buckley, 129, 

Hall, William Ham, on water rights and the State 

policy, 88 
Health, effects of irrigation upon, 18, 70, 71, 72, 74, 

100, 103, 105, 116, 117, 127 
Highland Park water-works, 57 
Humidity, effect of cultivation on, 43, 134 
Hydrographic features of Mexico, 227 


Idaho, Boise Valley, physical features of, 100 
climate, 100 

climatic conditions of, 99 
colonies and enterprises, 98 
irrigation companies in, 100, 102 
and water laws, 163-166 
effects of, on atmosphere, health, 

and soil in, 99 
works, extent, character, and 
cost of, 96 
land, original and present value of, 99 
products, 99 
rainfall in, 99, 100 
temperature of, 99, 100 
water and irrigation laws, 163-166 
rents and prices, 98, 99 
sources, 99 



Intra-Monntain Division, area arid boundaries of, 
canals, 22 
distribution of -water 

supply, 19 
noteworthy features of, 
Irrigable and non-irrigable lands, 26, 68, 69, 103, 
107, 108, 113, 117. 142, 143, 144 
area by a second foot of water, 39 
Irrigated lands for stock raising, 216 
healthfulness of, 218 
Irrigation and water laws of— 
Arizona, 157, 158 
California, 88, 155, 156 
Colorado, 175, 176 
Idaho, 163-166 
Kansas, 177 
Montana, 158, 163 
Nebraska, 177 
Nevada, 156 
New Mexico, 170-175 
Texas, 176 
Utah, 156, 157 
Wyoming, 166-170 
ancient Rome, 178-180 
France, 182-189 
Italy, 180-182 
Mexico, 190, 195, 199-231 
Spain, 190 
Irrigation area, extension of, 200, 211, 212 
by flooding, 207 
furrows, 208 
open ditches, 209 
seepage, 210, 211 
canal, extent and cost of, in Pinal 

County, Colorado, 118 
companies, list of, 34, 100, 102, 109, 112 
construction implements, 206 
date and history of, 150, 151 
drainage, 211 
Irrigation, effect of, on atmosphere, health, and 
soil in— 
Arizona, 116, 117 

California, 18, 64, 66, 69-74, 82, 97, 98 
Colorado, 127 
Idaho, 100 
Montana, 105 
Nevada, 106 
Oregon, 103, 104 
Irrigation, effect of, Hon. E. L. Nettleton on, 121 
upon fruit raising, 217 
enterprises, extent and cost of, in Col- 
orado, 129 132, 133 
S. J. Gilmore on, 132, 133 
facilities for, 151 
fertilization by, 209, 210 
fruit raising by, 217 
in Lower California, 224 
methods, note on, by J. TV. North, 71 
Wi lliam Ham 
Hall, 88, 89 
Irrigation, methods of, in— 

California, 12, 54, 58, 74, 95, 97 
Colorado, 39, 40, 120, 129 
Kansas, 135 

Irrigation, methods of in— 
Mexico, 199, 224-227 
Texas, 118, 119 
Irrigation, practical results of, 62 

project at Tulare Lake, 60 
prospects of, 217, 218 
works and their construction, 202, 203 
at Anaheim, 74, 75 
Irrigation works, extent, character, and cost of, 
Arizona, 28, 34, 49, 50, 116, 117 
California, 52, 54, 61, 71-74, 78, 83-85, 95, 97 
Colorado, 48, 126, 127, 132, 133 
Idaho, 99 
Kansas, 142-144 
Montana, 105 
Nevada, 35, 36 
New Mexico, 37, 113 
Oregon, 103 
Texas, 118, 119 
Utah, 110 

Wyoming, 107, 108 
Irrigation works in Gunnison Valley, 128 
Montezuma Valley, 48 
natural reservoirs available for, 

some of the principal, 203, 204, 

statistics of, in Utah, 110 
Italy, laws of irrigation and water in, 180-182 


Jerome, Frank E., on physical features of Western 

Kansas, 134-137 
Jones, Morgan, on irrigation methods in Texas, 119 

arboriculture in, prospects and progress 

of, 148, 149 
artesian wells in, 135, 136 
canals, extent and value of, 46 
climate of, 45 
climatic conditions, temperature, and 

rainfall of, 143, 144, 145, 146 
colonies and enterprises, location and size 

of, 141 
crops, average value of, 142-144 
cultivation, effects of, on the atmosphere, 

in, 149, 150 
divides or table lands, 137 
fruit-trees in, 149 

humidity, increase of, and fertility of soil 
in, 146 
Professors Anghey and Wilbur 
on, 146, 147 
irrigable and non-irrigable lands in, 142- 

irrigation and water laws, 177 

methods of, in Western, 135 
works, extent, character, and 
cost of, 142-144 
land areas, irrigable and non-irrigable, 

original and present value of, 141- 



3as, land under cultivation in, 142, 146 
value of irrigated, in, 46 
physical features of, 45, 134, 141 

J. E. Jerome on, 134, 
plains, Rev. John D. Parker on the, 137, 

prairie fires, 144-146 
products, 142-144 
progress of settlement in, 45 
rainfall in, 134, 138, 139 

effect of cultivation on, 138 
increase of, 134, 137, 147 
State valuation, 1860-1885, 45 
temperature of, 142 
treeless prairies and the water supply in, 

water and irrigation laws, 177 
rents or prices, 142 
sources, 135, 145 
Klamath Basin, physical features of, 10 

Labor in California, 82 

Land areas under cultivation in Kansas, 142-146 
available for cultivation or grazing, 113 
fertility and luxuriance of, 14, 16, 147 
irrigable from Kern River, 79 
Land, irrigable or non-irrigable in — 

Arizona, 26, 117 

California, 68, 69 

Kansas, 142-144 

Oregon, 103 

Wyoming, 107, 108 
Land, irrigated, in Colorado, 40, 126, 127, 128 
Land occupied for cultivation in— 

California, 68, 69 

Colorado, 126, 127 

Oregon, 103 

Wyoming, 107, 108 
Land, original and present value of, in — 

Arizona, 115 

California, 64, 65, 66 

Colorado, 125, 126 

Dakota, 114 

Kansas, 141-145 

Montana, 104 

New Mexico, 112 

Oregon, 103 

Texas, 118 

Utah, 110 

Wyoming, 106 
Land, products of, in— 

Arizona, 115, 116 

California, 76, 82, 83, 84, 85 

Colorado, 126, 129 

Dakota, 114 

Idaho, 99 

Kansas, 142-144 

Montana, 105 

Nevada, 106 

New Mexico, 112, 113 

Oregon, 103 

Texas, 118 
Land used for cattle and sheep in — 

California, 16, 69 

Land used for cattle and sheep in — 

Colorado, 126, 127 

Oregon, 103 

Wyoming, 107 
Laws on water and irrigation in— 

Arizona, 157, 158 

California, 88, 91, 155 

Colorado, 175, 176, 200 

Idaho, 163-166 

Kansas, 177 

Montana, 158-163 

Nebraska, 177 

Nevada, 156 

New Mexico, 170-175 

Texas, 176 

Utah, 156, 157 

Wyoming, 166, 170 

ancient Eome, 178-180 

France, 182-189 

Italy, 180-182 

Mexico, 190, 195, 199-231 

Spain, 190 
Laws on water and irrigation, national legislation, 

Letter of Senor M. Fernandez on irrigation and 
water supplies in Mexico, 223 
transmittal from Commissioner of Agri- 
culture, 4 
Lower California, irrigation in, 224 

Malaria, 116 
Marsh, Hon. John P., on possible evils of irrigation, 

their remedies and compensations, 151-154 
Mexico, artesian wells in, 191 
canals in, 191 

distribution of water in, 191 
hydrograpbic features of, 227 
irrigation and water laws of, 190, 195, 199 
Durango, 224 
in Hidalgo, 231 
Mexico, irrigation and water methods of, in— 
Durango, 224, 225 
Jalisco, 225, 226 
Michoacan, 227 
Morelos, 227 
Queretaro, 229 
Mexico, letter of Senor M. Fernandez on water 
supplies and irrigation in, 223 
laws regulating water rights, 223-230 
rainfall in, 191 
Mexico, water supply — 
sources of, in, 219, 230 

Durango, 224 
Jalisco, 225, 226 
Michoacan, 227 
Morelos, 227, 228 
Oaxaca, 228, 229 
Puebla, 229 

Querataro, 229 * . 

Tamaulipas, 229, 230 
Vera Cruz, 230 
Zacatecas, 230 
Mining operations, seat of, 15 
Moisture, annual average of, 134 
Montana, arable and non-arable lands in, 104 



Montana, cereals, large yield per acre of, 105 
climatic condition of, 105 
colonies and enterprises of, 104 
crops, average value of, 105 
health, effects of irrigation upon, in, 105 
irrigation and water laws in, ] 58-163 

effects of, on atmosphere, 

health and soil in, 105 
works, extent, character, and 
cost in, 105 
land, original and present value of, 104 
laws on water and irrigation, 158-163 
products, 105 

rainfull, temperature, and climate in, 105 
soil, effect of irrigation upon, 105 
temperature in, 105 
timber growth, 104 
water and irrigation laws, 158-163 
sources, 105 


National legislation on water and irrigation, 177 
Nettleton, Hon. E. L., on the effects of irrigation, 

North, J. "W., on methods of irrigation, 71 
Nebraska, agricultural facilities of, 148 
arboriculture in, 148, 149 

Robert TVFurnass on, 148 
area and boundaries of, 150 
artesian wells in, 146 
fruit culture in, 148, 149 
irrigation, effects of, in, 149 
laws on water and irrigation in, 177 
rainfall in, 46, 149 
Nevada, average altitude of, 35 
climatic changes in, 36 
drainage basins of the Sierras, 35 
irrigation and water laws, 156 

ditches, extent of, in Carson 

Valley, 36 
effects of, in. 106 
projects in, 35 
growth of, as a grazing State, 37 
land areas under cultivation, 106 
laws on irrigation and water, 156 
pastoral facilities of, 106 
precipitation, average, 35. 36 
productiveness of, 106 
products of, 106 
rainfall in, 37 
thunder-showers in, 36 
timber-land areas of, 35 
topographical features of, 37 
water storage, natural and artificial, 35 
New Mexico, area of irrigated lands in, 113 
canals and ditches in, 37 
climatic conditions of, 113 
colonies and enterprises in, 112 
crops, average value of, 112, 113 
irrigation and water laws in, 170-175 
companies, list of, in, 112 
principal centers of, in, 37 
system of, in, 112 
works, extent, character, and cost 
of, 113 

New Mexico land available for cultivation oi 
grazing, 113 
original and present value of, 

products, 112, 113 
laws on water and irrigation in, 170- 

products of, 112, 113 
rainfall in, 113 
temperature in, 113 
water sources, 112 

Oregon, agricultural progress in, 102, 104 

cereals, large yield of, in Baker County, 

climatic conditions in, 103, 104 
colonies and enterprises in, 102, 103 
crops, average value of, in, 103 
irrigable and non-irrigable land in, 103. 
irrigation, effect of, upon health and soil 
in, 103, 104 
works, extent, character and 
cost of, 103 
land occupied for cultivation in, 103 

original and present value of, in, 

products of, in Eastern, 103 
timber, area of, 35 
used for cattle and sheep, 103 
rainfall in, 103, 104 
. temperature in, 103, 104 
water privileges in, 103 

rents or price in, 103 

Pacific coast, divisions of the, 9-19 
Parker, Eev. JohnD., on treeless prairies in West- 
ern Kansas, 137—140 
Pasadena, 73, 86 

orange groves, productiveness and 
value of, at, 73, 74 
Pastoral facilities of Nevada, 106 
Physical features of— 
Colorado, 40 
Dakota, 114 
the Intra-Mountain Division, Eev. J. D. 

Parker on, 19 
Kansas, 45, 134, 141 

F. E. Jerome on, 134-137 
San Antonio Valley, California, 58 
Texas, 118, 119 
Pipes, construction of irrigation, 55, 56 
Plains, the Great- 
area and boundaries of, 150 
divisions of, 42 
fertility of the soil of, 147 
humidity of, increase of, 146, 147 
rainfall of, 6-8 

effects of settlement on, 43, 44 
Prairie fires, 144-146 

Precipitation in the Cache laPoudre Valley, Colo- 
rado, 131 
Nevada, 35, 36 
Property, assessed value of, in Utah, 110 

rate per cent, of county tax on, 110 



Railroad facilities, lack of, in Wyoming, 109 
Rainfall in — 

Arizona, 34, 116 

California, 6-9, 14, 61, 69, 70, 71, 74, 76, 78, 82, 85 

Colorado, effects of cultivation on, 41, 43, 44, 134 

Idaho, 99, 100 

Kansas, 134, 138, 139 

effects of cultivation on, 138 
increase of, 134, 137, 147 
Mexico, 191 
Montana, 105 
Nebraska, 46, 149 
Nevada, 37 
New Mexico, 113 
Oregon, 103, 104 
the Plains, 6-8 

Prof. P. H. Snow on the effect of 
settlement on, 43, 44 
Texas, increase of, 119 
"Wyoming, 109 
Rainy seasons, 28, 69 
Reservoirs, 61, 62 
Rivers of California, 10 

Colorado, extent available for naviga- 
tion, 27 
Rome, laws of, on irrigation and water, 178-180 

San Antonio Valley, physical features of, 58 
San Gabriel Valley, California, 73, 74, 75 
Sanitary effects of irrigation, 18, 70-74, 100,103,105, 

116, 117, 127 
San Joaquin Valley, California, 74, 75 
Santa Ana Valley, California, 75, 76 
Santa Cruz Valley, productiveness of, 28 
Smith, H. C, on Staked Plains region, 118 
Snow, Prof. P. H., on effect of settlement on rain- 

faU, 43, 44 
Soil, chemical combinations of, 26, 27 

effects of irrigation on, 64, 66, 70, 72, 73, 82, 97, 
98, 100-105 
Spain, laws of, on irrigation and water, 190 
Staked Plains region, H. C. Smith on, 118 

Table lands in Kansas, 137 
Temperature in— 
Arizona, 116 
California, 69, 70, 71, 72 
Colorado, 127 
Idaho, 99, 100 
Kansas, 142 
Montana, 105 
New Mexico, 113 
Oregon, 103, 104 
Wyoming, 107 
Texas, areas of irrigated lands in, 118 
canals in, 118 
fruit culture in, 118 
irrigation and water laws in, 176 
methods, 118, 119 

Morgan Jones on, 119 
system of, in Bexar County, 118 
land, value of, in, 118 
physical features of, 118, 119 

Texas, productiveness of, 118 
products of, 118 
rainfall, increase of, in, 119 
staked plains region, H. C. Smith on, 118 
water supply, 118, 119 
wells, tabular statement of, by J. E. Wal- 
lace, 119, 120 
Tidal overflow and river inundations, 15 
Timber culture, 47 
growth. 104 
land areas, 35 
Time distribution, 111 
Topographical features of California, 10-19 

Wyoming, 108 
Trade winds and coast influences, 16 
Treeless prairies and the water supply, 134-140 

Rev. John D. Parker on, 137-14© 
Tree planting, 148, 149 

Tulare County, California, productiveness of, 13, 

Utah, area requiring irrigation in, 110 

canals, distributing, length and cost of, 110- 
irrigation and water laws in, 156, 157 

canals, extent and cost of, 110 

system, noteworthy features and 
extent of, 19-25 

works, statistics of, 110 
land, value of, in, 110 
laws on water and irrigation, 156, 157 
property, assessed value of, 110 

rate per cent, of county tax on, 
public works and irrigation, 110 
time distribution of water in, 111 
water duty, 111 

Vineyards, special adaptability of the asbestine 
system to, 54 


Water and irrigation laws of— 

Arizona, 157, 158 

California, 88, 91, 155 

Colorado, 175, 176, 200 

Idaho, 163-166 

Kansas, 177 

Montana, 158-163 

Nebraska, 177 

Nevada, 156 

New Mexico, 170-175 

Texas, 176 

Utah, 156, 157 

Wyoming, 166-170 

Prance, 182-189 

Italy, 180-182 

Mexico, 190, 195, 199 

Rome, 178-180 

Spain, 190 
Water companies in Maricopa County, Arizona,34 
cost per acre per annum, 213, 214, 215 
current meter and methods of distribution, 



Water distribution, 17, 18, 59, 60, 92, 93, 94, 95 

districts, canals, ditches and reservoirs, 42, 

duty, 111, 212, 213 
privileges, 103, 125 
rates, 81, 106 
rights and State policy, 89 

for irrigation, cost of, 91, 92, 95 
system, of record, 90 
sources, 105, 112, 135, 145 
storage, natural and artificial, 35 
supply, Hon. R, M. "Widney on, 94, 95 
Water supply, sources of, in— 
Mexico, 219-230 

Durango, 224 
Jalisco, 225, 226 
Michoacan, 227 
Morelos, 227, 228 
Oaxaca, 2:8, 229 
Puebla, 229 
Querataro, 229 
Tamaulipas, 229, 230 
Vera Cruz, 230 
Zacatecas, 230 
Salt Eiver Valley, 116, 117 
Water supply, sources of, subterranean, 16 
unit of measurement, 90 
systems, 38 
Weather, average clearness of, for thirteen years 
in Colorado, 133 

Wells, 13,46, 103,109 

tabular statement of, by J. E. Wallace, 119, 
Wheat and grain growing sections of California, 15 
Wooster, S. C. on effect of cultivation on rainfall, 

Wyoming, area, boundaries, altitude, climate, and 
population, 108 
artesian wells in, 46, 108, 109 
colonies and enterprises, 106 
irrigation and water laws, 166-170 
companies, list of, 109 
works, extent, character, and 
cost of, 107,108 
landarea, inigableor nonirrigable, 107, 
occupied for cultivation, 107, 108 
original and present value of, 106 
used for cattle and sheep, 107, 108 
laws on irrigation and water in, 166-170 
railroad facilities, lack of, 109 
rainfall in. 107 
temperature in. 107 
topographical features of, 108 
•water privileges, 106 
rates, 106 
supply, 107, 108 







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